By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Nigerian financial market experts have expressed optimism about the positive impact of the proposed NGX Technology Board on the capital market and economy.
The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited plans to establish this platform to attract tech companies listing, giving them a means to raise funds to expand their operations.
On Thursday, October 6, 2022, the stock exchange organized a seminar on the topic Enable the next wave of growth for technology companies in Africa. It was organized to allow stakeholders to discuss ways to improve things for players in the sector.
Speakers at the event included the President’s Senior Special Assistant for Digital Transformation, Mr. Oswald Osaretin Guobadia; Kendall Ananyi, CEO, Tizeti; Vice President, Cardinalstone, Ms. Onyebuchim Obiyemi; CEO, Opay, Mr. Olu Akanmu; Managing Director, Capital Markets Institute of Nigeria, Timi Agama; Head, Financial Markets Support and Development Division, Capital Markets Department, CBN, Mr. Demenongu J. Yanfa; and Chairman, Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), Oguche Agudah.
Others were CEO, Central Securities and Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, Jalo Waziri; Partner, Fund the Gap Alliance, Segun Cole; Associate Dean, Lagos Business School, LBS, Prof. Olayinka David West; London Stock Exchange Representative and Director, Technology Sector Specialist, Shah Neil; Co-Founder/COO, Director of One Watt Solar, Jubril Adeojo; Future Africa CEO, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Chief Growth Officer, Halo Invest, Nnenna Onyewuchi.
In his address, NGX Chairman, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, represented by NGX Board Member, Ms. Angela Adebayo, said that Nigeria is home to several unicorns like Flutterwave, Andela, Jumia, Opay whose valuations exceed $1 billion.
“As a sustainable exchange championing Africa’s growth, NGX is positioned to support the growth of the next wave of technology companies.
“It stimulates the capital market, providing a tailored platform for technology companies in Nigeria and wider Africa to access growth capital while providing exit opportunities for all investors.
“The next wave of growth for local tech companies must be anchored on sustainability, agility, collaboration and digital innovation, and these are things that NGX stands for,” he said.
The Managing Director of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Lamido Yuguda, represented by Dayo Obisan, Executive Commissioner, Operations, SEC, while delivering his message of goodwill, noted that with the many developments recorded in the technological space, Africa remains a continent with the highest potential in technology and innovations and as such, its ability to digitally determine its future must be accelerated by strengthening its technological capacities.
According to him, “Africa has the potential to become a tech giant with the right capabilities, and the SEC will support commendable initiatives aimed at improving our market’s ability to develop a robust ecosystem for the Nigerian capital market.”
Further, NGX CEO Mr. Temi Popoola, speaking on the proposed NGX Technology Advisory, said, “The exchange, together with other major stakeholders including the SEC, CBN, CSCS and PenOp , works tirelessly to launch and over-board a new asset class.
“Specialized technology advice aims to encourage the listing of companies in the technology space, to provide increased transparency and visibility on foreign investment activities in technology companies and local technology startups.”
In the keynote address, the Deputy Governor of the Financial Systems Stability Directorate, CBN, Ms. Aisha Ahmad, noted that technology has evolved from an enabler of business to a sector in its own right, like some of the largest companies in the world like Meta and Google.
“Africa is a $2.7 trillion economy, and for this growth to translate into broader economic impacts, we need greater participation from local investors. I am particularly excited about NGX’s Technology Board plan, which will help grow the listings of Nigerian and African technology companies. This will facilitate price discovery of tech industry valuations and channel capital into tech and other sectors,” she said.
The panelists of the first panel entitled The Path to Tech Listings – Leveraging the Capital Market for Exponential Growth agreed that the proposed launch of the NGX Technology Board is timely as it addresses the challenges that startups face in funding and raising capital during their development phase.
Furthermore, they noted that having major stakeholders such as NGX, SEC and CBN to defend the board would attract participation from foreign investors, especially in terms of liquidity.
The second panel, on the theme Beyond Technology – Regulation as an Enabler for Technology Board Listings and Investor Protectionhighlighted policies and the right standards as key factors in creating an enabling environment for tech listings and investor protection.
The panelists noted that regulators should be concerned with listed companies, governance structure, valuations, returns and their positive impact on the Nigerian economy such as bringing new founders into the market and creating companies. jobs for Nigerians.