The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Mr. Roger Gifford, Thursday described the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as the gateway to African capital markets, saying the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the City of London would work with the NSE to enable it attain that leading role in the Africa.
Speaking at a United Kingdom-Nigeria Investment Partnership Forum in Lagos sponsored by the Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Gifford said the NSE was currently number two in Africa but given the growth potential of the Nigerian economy and the reforms taking place, the exchange is already being positioned as the gateway to African capital markets.
According to him, the existing relationship between LSE and NSE has been yielding positive results, which has led to the listing of three Nigerian banks on the LSE.
He said his visit was to promote the trade and investment relations between UK and Nigeria, adding that Nigerian firms can access the deep international pool of capital of $1.8 trillion through the LSE.
Gifford disclosed that African-focused companies listed on the LSE have raised over £4.2 billion between 2008 and now, assuring companies that the LSE was to assist them in further international capital raising.
In his welcome speech, the Chief Executive Officer of the NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, said it was deliberate policy of the exchange to improve collaborative efforts with other exchanges to ensure that listed companies and investors get better services.
Onyema noted that efforts of the NSE to restore investor confidence have paying off as the market grew by 34.5 per cent in 2012 and has recorded a growth of over 18 per cent so far this year.
Also speaking, the Deputy Managing Director of GTBank, Mrs. Cathy Echeozo, said there are immense opportunities for deeper partnerships between the UK and Nigeria which private enterprise can also explore.
According to her, GTBank has always played to its strength both locally and internationally, saying the bank was the first Nigerian company to take advantage of the capital market opportunities in the UK market to raise both equity and debt capital to fund its growth aspirations.