“Investors are finding their own niche, from the foreign direct investment perspective people are looking for 35 per cent” Oscar Onyema chief executive officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
The World Bank reported Nigeria as the continent's leader based on its 2013 GDP figure of 509.9 billion US dollars compared to South Africa with a 370 billion US dollars GDP.
These countries are the largest economies in Africa and have the largest financial centres, the NSE and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange respectively.
The NSE has seen this number one ranking on the GDP as an opportunity to brand itself as the “gateway to African markets” for its investors.
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“Nigeria offers a lot of opportunities across multiple sectors. The oil and gas sector continues to be strong as we look to passing the petroleum bill,” he said.
Nigeria has sought to restructuring the agricultural sector with the implementation of the Agriculture Sector Development Policy Operation. In 2013 The World Bank approved the funding of 300 million US dollars to the Nigerian government to expand the sector, improved nutrition for the poor and provide food security.
The growth in agriculture is believed will encourage parallel growth in the food manufacturing industry, and foreign companies are invited to list on the exchange as a strategy to diversify their growth within the country.
“The [NSE] provides a platform for efficiency into the economy,” he said.
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Onyema believes that the government has three challenges to address inequality, unemployment and youth underemployment. These issues must be addressed when policies are constructed in reference to foreign direct investment and the listing of companies on the exchange.
“I expect our leaders to come up with inclusive growth which creates employment that brings [improvement] in a standard of living for all Nigerians not just a few,” said Onyema.
Although there are issues of liquidity, beacuse oil the nation’s largest commodity is not listed on the NSE. However, considering the demographics and the continuous economic growth the NSE is deemed to increase its company listing.
BY: THANDO MATUTU