“We are already a world class market. We have zero tolerance for anything that is improper. Integrity is the backbone of any market. We will bring everyone to book if they do anything wrong,” Arunma Oteh, director-general of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission told CNBC Africa.
The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index published in 2013 measured Africa’s top GDP countries, South Africa and Nigeria, with high corruption figures of 42 and 25 respectively.
The index included 177 countries with scores that indicated perceived corruption levels within the nations’ public sector on a scale of 0-100. With zero meaning that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 as corruption free.
However, Oteh believes that integration within the African security commission can assist eradicate corruption within the continent’s business environment.
“[African] market regulators must be members of the International Organisation of Security commissions. We share information on integrity issues to build onto world class capital market standards,” she said.
(READ MORE: Nigeria Securities and Exchange Commission partners with IFC)
She believes that 95 per cent of the world markets are transparent to member states and the openness of this information can contribute to African economic growth.
“We have been endorsing collaboration among regulators and authorities to create opportunities for common growth. Nigeria and South Africa have been board members of the world wide body,” said Oteh.
The next step to African economic growth would be to focus on improving the capital market sector. Wealth distribution could be broadened through listed companies who have mid-term or long-term funded finance infrastructure.
“Africa has been growing at five per cent over the last decade and Nigeria has been growing at seven per cent. Wealth on the markets can be distributed more broadly and individuals can invest in stock markets around the African continent,” she explained.
(READ MORE: Nigeria’s Agri sector sprouts opportunity for women)
The focus is to empower the average person to create wealth and to distribute the income, essentially the circulation and integration of the wealth within the people can grow African economies.
Umeme, a public company listed on both Nairobi and Uganda securities exchanges, is seen as a model company which demonstrates wealth distribution within the continent.
“Umeme has done very well over the last thirteen years, building bridges between countries and has provided opportunities for the average person to participate in the growth of [the company],” said Oteh.
The collaboration of African companies within the capital markets have probability to reduce corruption and increase wealth distribution within the continent.
BY: THANDO MATUTU