lnfrastructure Deficit Poses Significant Challenges To Africa’s Sustainable Development — DG SEC

The Director General Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Lamido Yuguda has said that, the growing infrastructure deficit in the Sub Saharan Africa, is Inimical to its advancement.

Mr. Yuguda who is also the Chairman of the West Africa Securities Regulators Association, WASRA made this remark on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of the 3rd West Africa Capital Market Conference (WACMaC) with the theme: “Infrastructural Deficit and Sustainable Financing in an Integrated West African Capital Market” held in Lagos.

According to him, “to address this gap, there is a growing need to adopt innovative financing mechanisms, and sustainable financing options, to mobilize the desired funds to meet the region’s critical infrastructure needs, foster economic growth, and achieve sustainable development goals”.

The African Development Bank, said recently that, the continent needs up to $170 billion per year by 2025 to overhaul its infrastructure, with two-thirds of that being needed for entirely new infrastructure and the remaining one-third for maintenance.

Mr. Yuguda said, the WACMaC conference which is a well thought out one, further provide a unique platform to engage in meaningful discussions, share insights, forge partnership that will help shape the future of the capital market in the region.

Speaking further on the Conference, Mr.Yuguda stated that WACMaC was set-up to address crucial issues relating to the orderly growth and development of regional and continental capital markets.

It will be recall that, the conference is jointly hosted by WASRA, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West Africa Capital Market Integration Council (WACMIC), and the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI).

Giving insight to the formation of WASRA, Yuguda said, “In 2010, the establishment of the West African Capital Market Integration Council (WACMIC) marked the inception of our collaborative effort to create a seamless and unified capital market within West Africa. Five years later, the formation of the West Africa Securities Regulators Association (WASRA) further solidified this commitment to harmonizing the regulatory environment for financial securities issuance and trading.

“WACMIC and WASRA bring together the securities exchanges, central securities depositories and commissions of the sub-region, comprising Cape Verde, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA), with Morocco as an observer member.  Our mission, as outlined in the ECOWAS Commission Treaty, is to facilitate the issuance and trading of financial securities across the region.

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The DG disclosed that the integration project in the region is divided into three phases: Phase I facilitated trading between the stock exchanges in the sub-region, through the Sponsored Access model: Phase II which is currently underway, is set to harmonize and validate regulations for the trading and settlement of securities in West African capital markets through the Qualified West Africa Broker (QWAB) model. This phase with a target completion date of June 2024 is made possible through funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and is implemented by the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI).

He said Phase III holds the promise of delivering a fully integrated market and the establishment of the West Africa Securities Market, which will reflect securities listed on all member exchanges. This phase is expected to deepen West African capital markets, attract institutional and retail investors across member countries, and broaden the range of capital market instruments and issuances for funding private and public enterprises and infrastructure in the region.

The WASRA Chairman stated that “These gatherings have been instrumental in shaping the integration project, expanding the membership of WASRA and WACMIC to include Cape Verde, and advancing our collective mission. Nigeria, with its vibrant capital market and a market capitalization of USD 98. 28 billion, is proud to host the 3rd WACMAC. This conference takes place at a time when Nigeria’s President, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, serves as the Chairman of ECOWAS, underscoring Nigeria’s pivotal role in the region. We are confident that this event, will foster integration, encourage capital formation, promote tourism, and attract investors.

In an address, Executive Governor of Lagos State Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the co-operation between the various bodies fortifies the bedrock of the W/African region fostering a collaborative spirit among member states.

Sanwo-Olu said governments are actively aware of the imperatives of addressing infrastructure deficit and sustainable financing in the region. He said the theme of the conference is especially apt for the moment as across the sub region, modern infrastructure such as roads, rails, ports, fibre optics connectivity power etc. are largely inadequate.

“These perennial inadequacies have hindered the economic growth of our various nations and economic development of our people.  It behoves therefore on us to deliberate on ideas, financial strategies that can bridge these infrastructural gaps, enhancing the quality of life of our people and propelling out economy to greater heights.

“While governments like ours continues to make efforts at plugging the huge infrastructural deficits, we cannot do it alone and that is why we are collaborating with you and say we are waiting to see the types of innovative instruments and ideas that you can bring forward for us to be able to do the quick and very difficult work that you have asked us to do”.

“Only innovative and creative financing especially the products coming out of the capital market that can ease this gap, I see you as strategic partners   with us and indeed we can build that ecosystem that we all crave for. We believe there are many ways the West African capital market can help in this regard” the Governor added.

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