Experts Foresees NGX Technology Board Deepening Capital Market

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Experts in the Nigerian financial markets have expressed optimism about the proposed NGX Technology Board’s positive impact on the capital market and the economy.

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited plans to establish this platform to attract the listing of technology companies, giving them an avenue to raise funds to expand their operations.

On Thursday, October 6, 2022, the exchange held a seminar themed Enabling the Next Wave of Growth for Technology Companies in Africa. It was held to allow stakeholders to discuss ways to make things better for players in the sector.

Speakers at the event included the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Digital Transformation, Mr Oswald Osaretin Guobadia; Kendall Ananyi, Chief Executive Officer, Tizeti; Vice President, Cardinalstone, Mrs Onyebuchim Obiyemi; CEO, Opay, Mr Olu Akanmu; Managing Director, Nigerian Capital Market Institute, Timi Agama; Head, Financial Markets Support and Development Division, Financial Markets Department, CBN, Mr  Demenongu J. Yanfa; and President, Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), Oguche Agudah.

Others were the 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; Representative of London Stock Exchange and Director, Tech Sector Specialist, Shah Neil; Co-Founder/COO, One Watt Solar Director, Jubril Adeojo; CEO Future Africa, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Chief Growth officer, Halo Invest, Nnenna Onyewuchi.

In his remarks, the Chairman of NGX, Mr Abubakar Mahmoud, represented by NGX board member, Mrs Angela Adebayo, said that Nigeria is home to several unicorns like Flutterwave, Andela, Jumia, Opay which have valuations surpassing $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 is stimulating the capital market, providing a tailored platform for tech companies in Nigeria and wider Africa to access growth capital whilst providing exit opportunities for all investors.

“The next wave of growth for home-bred technology companies needs to be anchored on sustainability, agility, collaboration and digital innovation, and these are elements that NGX represents,” he said.

Director-General of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, represented by Dayo Obisan, Executive Commissioner, Operations, SEC, while delivering his goodwill message, noted that with the several developments recorded in the technology space, Africa remains a continent with the highest potential when it comes to tech and innovations and as such, its ability to determine its future digitally must be accelerated by strengthening its technological capabilities.

According to him, “Africa has the potential to grow into a technological giant with the right enablement, and SEC will support laudable initiatives aimed at improving on the capacity of our market to develop a robust ecosystem for the Nigerian capital market.”

Also, the CEO of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, while speaking on the proposed NGX Technology Board, said, “The exchange, in conjunction with other major stakeholders, including SEC, CBN, CSCS and PenOp, are working tirelessly to launch and on-board a new asset class.

“The specialised technology board aims to encourage the listing of companies in the technology space, provide increased transparency, and visibility on foreign investment activities in tech companies and local tech startups.”

Giving the keynote address, the Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability Directorate, CBN, Mrs Aisha Ahmad, noted that tech had grown from an enabler of business to a fully-fledged sector as 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 more local investor participation. I’m particularly excited about NGX’s Technology Board plan, which will help grow the listings of Nigerian and African tech companies. It will aid price discovery of tech industry valuations and channel capital to tech and other sectors,” she said.

Panellists at the first panel titled The Path to Tech Listings – Leveraging Capital Market for Exponential Growth agreed that the proposed launch of NGX Technology Board is timely as it addresses challenges startups face with funding and capital formation during their developmental stage.

Additionally, they noted that having major stakeholders like NGX, SEC and CBN champion the Board would attract foreign investor participation, especially in terms of liquidity.

The second panel, themed Beyond Tech – Regulation as an Enabler for Technology Board Listings and Investor Protection, highlighted policies and the right standards as key factors in creating an enabling environment for tech listings and investor protection.

The panellists noted that regulators should be concerned about the companies listed, the governance structure, evaluations, returns and their positive impact on Nigeria’s economy, such as introducing new founders to the market and creating employment for Nigerians.

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