OPENING REMARKS BY MR. OSCAR N. ONYEMA, OON, CEO OF THE NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE AT THE 22ND AFRICAN SECURITIES EXCHANGES ASSOCIATION (ASEA) ANNUAL CONFERENCE HOLDING AT THE ORIENTAL HOTEL, LAGOS ON NOVEMBER 26, 2018
Permit me to stand on the established protocols.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to Lagos. It is truly an honour to have you all here at this edition of the ASEA annual conference.
After completing two terms as President of this noble Association, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to you and the entire membership of ASEA for the support over the last four (4) years. I also want to seize the opportunity to thank the team at the Nigerian Stock Exchange for organizing a spectacular event, as well as our host partner - Dangote; our Gold partner – Veritaseum; and all our other partners.
I feel proud and honoured to have been able to lead ASEA, and I trust that it will continue to flourish under the astute leadership of the newly elected President and executive committee.
Having said that, it would be remiss if I did not highlight some of the key achievements of the Association over the last few years. Key among which is our success in elevating the profile of ASEA on the global stage and the expansion of our portfolio of strategic relationships and alliances.
In the last year, our strategic relationships have resulted in grants worth approximately USD 1.2Mn from the Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa and the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) fund via the Africa Development Bank (AfDB). The grants received to date are targeted at the African Exchanges Linkage Project (AELP), ASEA secondment program, information portal and annual conferences. These programs are critical levers of success for ASEA and we aim to continue to broaden and deepen our relationships in order to create increasing value for members and the African financial market. To this end, tomorrow we will officially sign a memorandum of understanding with the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE). I will like to thank the WFE and we look forward to working with the Federation on many initiatives.
To ensure we deliver value for members and partners, we created a five year strategy running from 2019 – 2023 which will provide a structured approach to delivering on our initiatives. The strategy is designed to position ASEA as the authoritative source of information on African exchanges and as such, we recently re-modelled the statistics portal of our website in order to present quality statistics in insightful ways. I encourage you to keep abreast of interesting developments in African exchanges using this resource. Other goals the strategy aims to achieve include intensifying the association’s advocacy and capacity building functions.
It has been almost a decade since Nigeria last hosted the ASEA Conference which held in Abuja in 2009 and what a different picture our markets are now compared to then. At the time, we were reeling from the shocks of the 2007 – 2008 global financial crisis, the price of crude oil was down to USD 53, financial regulation was much weaker and the African capital market had less competitive products. Today, Sub-Saharan Africa is growing at 3.1% as political and economic developments in a number of African countries experience some relatively progressive regime changes. In the capital market, African exchanges have become more robust from a regulatory, technology and product standpoint with six1 African exchanges now represented on the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).
Therefore, this year’s theme Champions On the Rise: Africa’s Ascension to a More Sustainable Future could not be more timely as just this month, Mckinsey confirmed that Africa is positioned for economic acceleration, akin to the Asian boom with several African businesses translating opportunities into enduring business value. Accordingly ASEA aims to do more to support African exchanges and businesses to integrate digital technology especially data analytics into their business models. Accordingly, we have put together a diverse line-up of speakers who will be discussing a broad range of topics from attracting capital flows to driving innovation in the fourth industrial revolution. The discussions promise to be invigorating and exciting so we ask that you please stay engaged and participate fully.
Before concluding my remarks, I’ll like to leave you with this quote from the US anthropologist, Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Therefore, I trust that you will extend the same support you accorded me to my successor and his deputy, as the Association continues its journey towards a vibrant African capital market which catalyzes the sustainable socio-economic transformation of Africa.
At this juncture, I will like to introduce you to my good friend, and someone who I have had the pleasure of working with very closely over the past few years. He is the CEO of the Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) and an outstanding gentleman. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in a round of applause as I welcome the new president of ASEA Mr. Karim Hajji to give some few remarks.
Oscar N. Onyema, OON
Former President, ASEA and current Chief Executive Officer, The Nigerian Stock Exchange