The Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria (SEC Nigeria) has become the first capital market regulator to participate in a flagship pan-African programme designed to strengthen the continent’s capital markets.
Over a three-year period, FSD Africa, a UK Aid funded non-profit company, will 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.
The programme aims to unlock capital and build investor confidence through improved regulations and compliance with international standards.
Through the programme, FSD Africa will assist SEC Nigeria in several ways. First, it will fund an institutional capacity audit to identify strengths and areas of improvement in the SEC Nigeria’s operations as well as provide support to implement recommendations. It will also help in promoting fintech regulation. Lastly, it will play a role in encouraging greater collaboration and knowledge management sharing with other African capital market regulators.
As Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria represents a natural starting point for this new programme.
In addition to Nigeria, the programme will be implemented in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The cooperation agreement between SEC Nigeria and FSD Africa was signed in Lagos. The signing was observed by the Deputy High Commissioner, British Deputy High Commission Lagos, Laure Beaufils. Others present were the heads of the two institutions; Mary Uduk, Acting Director General, Securities, and Exchange Commission, Nigeria and Mark Napier, Director, FSD Africa.
Commenting on the agreement, Beaufils noted:
“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 Nigeria 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.”
Responding, Mary Uduk, Acting Director General, SEC Nigeria said:
“SEC Nigeria is excited about the cooperation with FSD Africa and the tremendous potential the various programmes 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 enhance the competitiveness of the Nigerian capital market as a global investment destination.”
For his part, Napier said the role of capital markets in economic growth is crucial:
“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 said.
FSD Africa is a non-profit company which aims to increase prosperity, create jobs and reduce poverty by bringing about a transformation in financial markets in sub-Saharan Africa and in the economies they serve. It provides know-how and capital to champions of change whose ideas, influence and actions will make finance more useful to African businesses and households. It is funded by UK aid from the UK Government.