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UK Government’s MOBILIST Programme Reinforces Commitment to Nigeria’s Capital Market for Sustainable Development

Lagos, 21st May 2024 – The United Kingdom has reaffirmed its commitment to bolster Nigeria’s burgeoning capital markets through its Mobilising Institutional Capital Through Listed Product Structures (MOBILIST) programme. This initiative represents a vital collaboration aimed at mobilizing private capital to meet Nigeria’s ambitious economic and sustainable development goals.

Nigeria’s capital market plays a pivotal role in achieving the country’s economic targets, including the critical transition to clean energy solutions. However, the country requires approximately USD 10 billion annually in financing to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Recognizing this urgent need, the UK has positioned the MOBILIST programme as a cornerstone of its support for Nigeria’s financial sector.

Strategic Events Highlight Commitment

In a bid to underscore this commitment, two significant events were hosted today by the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and the British Deputy High Commission (BDHC) in Lagos. These gatherings attracted key stakeholders from across the financial community, including representatives from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the pension fund industry. The focus was on addressing principal barriers to increasing investment in the SDGs via public markets and exploring avenues to enhance private capital mobilisation at scale.

These events follow the visit of former UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to Nigeria last year, during which he participated in launching the partnership between MOBILIST and NGX. This collaboration aims to stimulate greater investment in the SDGs through innovative investment structures listed on the exchange.

Empowering Sustainable Development

MOBILIST is designed to provide investment capital in the form of equity and technical assistance to overcome barriers and facilitate the listing of pioneering products. These efforts aim to mobilize institutional capital at scale, addressing the dual challenges of development and climate transition. The programme also offers extensive research and policy advocacy support to identify and mitigate obstacles, thereby enhancing the environment for issuers, investors, and intermediaries.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Africa needs an additional USD 194 billion annually to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Bridging this financing gap requires substantial private investment and enhanced collaboration between capital market stakeholders, multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, and policymakers.

High-Level Endorsements

British Deputy High Commissioner Jonny Baxter, in his remarks, highlighted the UK government’s dedication to supporting Nigeria’s capital market development. He stated, “The UK government is committed to supporting Nigeria in the continued development of its capital market to help deliver the country’s economic goals, including its ambitions to transition to clean energy solutions. A liquid and well-regulated capital market benefits the entire economy by enabling companies to raise capital to fund their expansion, which in turn helps deliver crucial development, job opportunities, and improved incomes.”

Baxter emphasized MOBILIST’s role in stimulating innovative listed products, which can significantly contribute to these objectives.

Collaborative Efforts to Overcome Barriers

In his goodwill remarks, the Chairman of NGX, Ahonsi Unuigbe, underscored the importance of collaborative discussions to tackle barriers hindering public listings. He stated, “The discussions we have today are crucial as we address barriers hindering public listings and explore actionable solutions. By overcoming these obstacles, we can unlock the full potential of our capital market, enabling more businesses to access the funding they need to grow and thrive. Some of these obstacles are significant, such as regulatory challenges, high listing costs, and market volatility.”

Unuigbe further highlighted that an efficient listing process would democratize access to capital, fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, particularly for businesses dedicated to achieving the SDGs.

Commitment to Sustainable Financing

Ross Ferguson, MOBILIST Programme Lead at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), expressed the UK’s belief in the critical role of public markets in financing sustainable development. “MOBILIST is the expression of the UK’s conviction that public markets have an underutilized but potentially critical role in financing sustainable development at scale by mobilizing private capital to flow where it is needed most – to the firms that are going to contribute most to solving developmental challenges and help deliver a fair and orderly climate transition for Nigeria. We are committed to deepening our relationships in the Nigerian market as we seek to help position Nigeria’s capital markets at the forefront of these efforts.”

Enhancing Market Efficiency and Sustainability

In his welcome address, the Acting CEO of NGX, Jude Chiemeka, emphasized the significant impact of the partnership with MOBILIST. He stated, “Our partnership with MOBILIST is geared towards advancing market efficiency, sustainability reporting, and integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles. This event represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to enhance the performance and depth of Nigeria’s capital market by promoting sustainable capital flows and listing diversity.

Chiemeka expressed optimism that the insights from the day’s discussions would catalyze economic growth through the capital market. “By harnessing the potential of our capital market, we can unlock new opportunities for funding businesses, fostering entrepreneurship, and ultimately driving sustainable development across Nigeria,” he added.

Conclusion

The UK Government’s MOBILIST programme is a testament to its steadfast commitment to supporting Nigeria’s capital markets and sustainable development ambitions. By addressing key barriers and fostering collaboration, this initiative aims to mobilize the necessary private capital to achieve the SDGs, thus ensuring a brighter, more sustainable future for Nigeria.

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