FSD Africa, a UK Aid funded non-profit company committed to poverty alleviation and improved prosperity in sub-Saharan Africa through transformation of the capital markets, and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria (SEC Nigeria) on Friday signed an agreement for the purposes of unlocking capital and building investor confidence through stronger regulations and international standards in the Nigerian capital market.
Through the partnership, the FSD Africa will assist SEC Nigeria, the first capital market regulatory institution to participate in the flagship programme, by funding an institutional capacity building audit to identify strengths and areas of improvement in the nation’s capital market operations.
In addition, the UK Aid funded non-profit company will also provide support to implement recommendations based on the findings of the audit as well as play a role in encouraging greater collaboration and knowledge management sharing with other African capital market regulators.
Under the deal, FSD Africa will over a three-year period provide funding to build the capacity of capital market regulators across the continent, providing world-class technical assistance, encouraging closer collaboration among regulators and conducting research to support the development of new policies and regulations required to improve the capacities of the bourses.
According to FSD Africa, the programme will be implemented in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the agreement signing ceremony in Lagos, FSD Africa’s Director, Mark Napier, explained that the initiative was being undertaken by his company, in line with the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ (IOSCO’s) principles, to enhance the Nigerian capital market’s standards through technical and other capacity building supports to the regulator – SEC Nigeria.
He said: “Well functioning capital markets can play a vital role in support of inclusive economic growth by channeling long term finance into infrastructure and other large-scale projects that create jobs and improve access to markets.
“Strengthening regulatory capacity in capital markets is an essential pre-condition for building investor confidence”, Napier added.
Commenting on the deal, the Director-General, SEC Nigeria, Ms Mary Uduk, said that the partnership was coming at a very auspiciousanalyseden the commission was adopting various innovative strategies to build capacity across the broad spectrum of the nation’s capital market in response to emerging trends, including the latest fintechs’ foray into the investment space.
According to her, the benefits of the capacity building partnership with FSD Africa remain immeasurable when anaylsed within the context of the impact on market operators, regulators, protection of investors’ funds and potential for investment inflows into the economy, amongst other potential gains.
She said: “SEC Nigeria is excited about the cooperation with FSD Africa and the tremendous potential the various programs hold in complementing our efforts to enhance capacity and further strengthen our ability to regulate the capital market.
“This collaboration will no doubt contribute to the continued development of our market by facilitating access to capital by both the private and public sectors and enhancing the competitiveness of the Nigerian capital market as a global investment destination”, the SEC boss added.
Commenting on the partnership, the British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Ms Laure Beaufils, noted that FSD Africa’s intervention to support the nation’s capital market development aligned with the UK government’s commitment to promoting international cooperation, deepening trade relationship and strengthening financial institutional capacity in Nigeria.
Beaufils pointed out that the recent visit of the British Prime Minister, Ellen May, to Nigeria and the discussions she had at the highest level of government indicated clearly the commitment of both countries to work together for socio-economic prosperity, adding that the latest partnership between FSD Africa and SEC Nigeria is reflective of the UK government’s desire for a stronger financial services system in Nigeria.
The envoy said: “Capital markets have an essential role to play to help unlock capital that can be invested in the real economy and that can contribute to job creation and inclusive growth. I am delighted that the SEC and FSD Africa will be signing a new partnership agreement today.
“It is a testament to the importance we attach to this issue and to our commitment to deepen and broaden our trade and investment relationship with Nigeria. I very much look forward to working with the SEC on this in the future”, Beaufils added.