The Nigerian economy is approximately $220bn in size. It is the 2nd largest in Sub Saharan Africa and growing at an average of 4-5% p.a in the last five years. The Economy is overly dependent on oil and to a limited extent on gas. It is the worldÃ¢â‚¬Å¸s 7th largest exporter of oil, the 10th largest oil reserves and produces 6% of the worldÃ¢â‚¬Å¸s cocoa. The Nigerian economy accounts for 41% of West African GDP and 47% of its population. Its financial markets however lag itÃ¢â‚¬Å¸s economic and resource potential, and therefore need to continue to evolve to position Nigeria to better meet the needs of the average Nigerian and play its role in Africa.
The objective of NigeriaÃ¢â‚¬Å¸s economic reform agenda must be to achieve a sustainable and accelerated rate of real GDP growth, meet the millennium development goals in this decade, diversify the economy away from excessive dependence on oil & gas, make the country domestically and internationally competitive as a destination for investment flows and lastly, insulate the economy from exogenous shocks.
While, the Nigerian economy has been able to achieve its growth objectives over the last 5 years, peer group oil producers and mineral dependent economies have outperformed Nigeria. Resource potential remains huge but our country faces daunting constraints and challenges. Our Nation clearly has the potential to do much more when compared to its peer nations such as South Africa. While South AfricaÃ¢â‚¬Å¸s GDP of $287.22billion is slightly higher than that of Nigeria, its capital market represented by market capitalization is sixteen times higher than that of Nigeria.
This illustrates the potential that Nigeria has to better leverage its capital market to fuel entrepreneurship, support the real sector and create jobs which bring about the desired multiplier effect for sustainable economic growth. This is why it is extremely important that we create a capital market that is strong, fair, efficient and robust. We must do this continually by raising the standards of our regulatory environment, revitalizing our enforcement programmes, introducing new products, enhancing our processes, widening the investor-base and invigorating investor education. Making significant progress on all these fronts is necessary to build a world class market.
A world class capital market is one where there is investor confidence, adequate product offerings and efficient processes, market integrity, sound regulatory framework, strong and transparent disclosure and accountability regime, good corporate governance, and a fair and efficient market place. This is what will transform our capital markets from crisis to opportunity.