The federal government is working with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to establish a $500 million fund aimed at financing technological innovation that will grow the country’s financial services sector and economy in general.
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 22nd African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) Annual General Meeting and Conference organised by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos.
According to Osinbajo, the fund would help to increase the competitivenes of Nigeria’s information and communications technology industry.
“We are accordingly working with the AFDB to establish a $500 million innovation fund, this will support activity in this sector. Given the size of our economy and the potential of technology and creative segment, I am hopeful that capital market operators will work towards innovative financing solutions to lend further support to these two sectors,” the vice president said.
Osinbajo also disclosed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would soon be issuing licence for payment service banks which would increase access to financial services by low income earners and the unbanked.
He said the partnership was also essentially to ensure that African champions continue to rise in a sustainable manner.
According to him, such partnership must be between government, private firms and businesses association and this is something we must pay a great deal of attention to.
He restated that the government was committed to ensuring macro economic stability in an inclusive economy with a diversified production base.
Osinbajo said: “We also realised that a conducive and supportive environment is essential for business to thrive and we have accordingly invested heavily in infrastructure while working strenously to make it easier to do business in Nigeria.
“We also realised the importance of sustainable future and we become the first African country to float the green bond to promote the environmental objective of our economic recovery and growth plan (ERGP).”
He said that government must ensure that its rising population was protected, housed without further depleting or damaging resources.
The vice president noted that African companies essentially those listed on the exchanges and those that make up the association must also be champions on the rise.
He said companies must innovate and take advantage of the unique features of the African economy.
“It is evident that ASEA has a key role in our quest for economic growth and development.This is not only because of the vital role that capital markets play in our domestic economy but because the association reflects the right place of collaboration and partnership required of Africa countries and economic institution to bring about a more vibrant and mere dynamic continental economy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has tasked ASEA to develop a strong and vibrant domestic investors base.
Speaking through the acting Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Mary Uduk, the minister said low domestic investors base was limiting African capital markets.
According to her, the capital market size of African capital markets is yet very low thereby limiting market potential, stressing that ASEA must promote world-class capital market characterised by high level of liquidity.