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Popoola canvasses increased investment in SDGs

The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Exchange Limited, Temi Popoola, has canvassed for increase in long-term sustainable finance to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in sub-Saharan Africa.

He made this known while speaking as a panellist at the CEO Breakfast Roundtable hosted by United Nations Global Compact Network Nigeria, during the visit of Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General, UN Global Compact.

The visit was to secure the commitment of the leadership of the Nigerian private sector to the UN Global Compact Africa Strategy, in which the unique role exchanges play within the global capital market in driving SDGs was highlighted.

Popoola said: “Securities exchanges have a critical role to play in the reallocation of capital towards the achievement of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where countries are lagging behind all other regions in various development indicators.

“At NGX, we remain committed to fostering the growth of sustainable financial products that integrate the financial risks and help issuers leverage the opportunities associated with the SDGs, the fight against climate change.”

Sustainable finance

Speaking on NGX’s role in fostering the growth of sustainable finance and green bond market in Nigeria, he said: “NGX, has over the years, played a leading role in developing financial instruments that address sustainable development and promote financial inclusion in the Nigerian capital market.

“In recognition of Nigeria’s climate finance needs and the urgent action required to combat climate change as enshrined in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Exchange, in 2016, championed efforts along with government and industry stakeholders that culminated in the issuance of the maiden N10.69 billion (c. $25.8 million) 13.48% 5-year green bond in 2017.

Securities exchanges have a critical role to play in the reallocation of capital towards the achievement of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where countries are lagging behind all other regions in various development indicators.

“The Exchange also played a leading role in promoting the development and issuance of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Ijarah Sukuk, which has proven to be a highly attractive instrument that supports inclusion from Nigeria’s ethical investors and sharia compliant investors who have stronger preference for non-interest based instruments.”

Popoola also cited the Exchange’s collaboration with International Finance Corporation (IFC) to build the capacity of potential green bond issuers in Nigeria.

He said: “NGX has partnered with IFC to train issuers and market operators on the issuance of sustainable financial instruments. Through the training, NGX and IFC shared best practices in sustainable finance issuance, and educated potential issuers on the unique characteristics of green social and sustainable bonds, the specific advantages of each instrument, as well as the detailed step-by-step process for issuing these instruments.”

Popoola stressed the need for collaboration to ensure the SDGs are met by the 2030 deadline, and commended the UN Global Compact on the recent launch of the Africa Strategy and encouraged private sector leaders to support the initiative.

“The Africa Strategy aspires to recruit and support the 100 most exemplary companies in Africa along with the top 10 companies present in each of the 10 countries where a Local Network is operating.

“Business leaders should support the United Nations Global Compact Africa Strategy to develop innovative financing solutions to deliver impact towards achieving the SDGs in Africa,” he added.

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