The Federal Government through the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy has said it intends to collaborate with Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) to stimulate startup listings with the newly created NGX Technology Board.
The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, stated this during a tech event themed; Invest in Africa’s Future- Let’s talk about exits- a joint initiative by the Ministry, NGX, and Future Africa in New York, supported by Stanbic IBTC, CardinalStone Partners and Chapel Hill Denham on Thursday, 21 September 2023.
Tijani noted that Nigeria had been grappling with its over dependence on oil in the last few years, adding that diversifying from heavy reliance on a single sector like the oil industry often requires increasing productivity in other sectors. According to him, this can be achieved through the application of technology and innovation, something the current leadership of President Bola Tinubu is particular about.
Listing his goals and ambitions, Tijani said the Ministry will work on creating a regulatory environment for fintechs, access to funding especially from angel investors, improve digital infrastructure, facilitate the export of tech products and services and collaborate with NGX on tailored listing options for startups via its Technology Board. The Minister said, “We cannot do all of this as a country if we do not prioritise innovation and encourage entrepreneurs to build. Nigeria is now open to investments. We want to prioritise the ability of our technology companies to export products and we are targeting Africa first and then eventually start selling to the rest of the world”.
At the same event, the Chief Executive Officer, NGX, Temi Popoola, stated that the Exchange will work assiduously to support the agenda of the Honourable Minister and the mandate of President Bola Tinubu. Whilst stating that technology is a big enabler of the capital market, Popoola said that NGX is keen on fostering innovation in the capital market, potentially to attract a larger pool of investors and mature tech companies to list on its platform.
Explaining the challenges around listings, he stated that the demand for private capital currently outweighs public capital while revealing that the NGX is in discussions with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on private markets to enable the exchange do business with non-listed companies like startups.
“We will continue to do a lot of work that makes us able to attract local capital and the day tech start-ups come to the exchange, we are confident that there would be very good audience of investors that would want to own a bit of their shares. This is what we at NGX are doing by removing all barriers for that to happen,” the CEO said.
Also speaking at the event was the CEO, Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola who noted that his company is focused on the Nigeria project as most of its investible capital had been deployed to Nigeria since inception. He added that the company would be looking at tapping opportunities created by the markets to scale and further deliver value to its customers and investors.
The CEO, Chapel Hill Denham, Mr Bolaji Balogun while delivering his remarks expressed optimism that the Nigerian investment community gets the opportunity to participate in the capital formation going on in the tech sector, rather than all the intellectual property that will emanate from it being controlled by foreign markets.