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NGX Technology Board: Experts optimistic about outcome on capital market, economy

NGX lauds Neimeth for enhancing operations, restoring investor confidence

Consistent with its bid to strengthen the diversity of the capital market by redefining it as an attractive destination for technology companies, Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) held the NGX Technology Board Webinar to drive comprehensive discussions and cogent actions to develop African technology.

The event held virtually on Thursday, 6 October 2022, with the theme “Enabling the Next Wave of Growth for Technology Companies in Africa”, had astute professionals in both the public and private sectors express optimism about the proposed launch of NGX Technology Board to encourage more Tech listings and contribute substantially to the proliferation of opportunities for African technology firms.

Opening the event with his remarks, the Chairman of NGX, Abubakar Mahmoud, represented by NGX board member, Erelu Angela Adebayo, said that Nigeria is home to several unicorns like Flutterwave, Andela, Jumia, and Opay which have valuations surpassing $1 billion. He said, “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”.

Director General, Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), 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”.

In his opening remarks, the Chief executive Officer, NGX, Temi Popoola speaking on the proposed NGX Technology Board said “The Exchange in conjunction with other major stakeholders including SEC, CBN, Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) and Pension Fund Operations Association of Nigeria (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.”

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Giving the keynote address, the Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability Directorate, CBN, Mrs Aisha N. 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 $2.7trillion economy and for this growth to translate into broader economic impacts, we need more local investor participation and I’m particularly excited about the NGX’s Technology Board plan which will help grow the listings of Nigerian and Africa 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 to creating an enabling environment for Tech listings and Investor protection. The panelists 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 the introduction of new founders to the market and the creation of employment for Nigerians.

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