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Addressing infrastructure deficit in W/Africa

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By Mercy Kelani

Infrastructure deficits in the sub region should be tackled "from inside”.

Kashim Shettima, the Vice President of Nigeria, called for the bridging of the $3 trillion infrastructure deficit of the country through active involvement of capital market stakeholders. Shettima implored several exchanges to create digital technology products and develop a focused strategy that would entice young people into the stock market of the nation. Shettima made this call at the opening ceremony of the third West Africa Capital Market Conference (WACMaC), which had the theme: “Infrastructural Deficit and Sustainable Financing in an Integrated West African Capital Market”, and was held in Lagos.

He said that operators and regulators are needed to pay attention to initiative that would enhance rapid development and address the infrastructure gap of the nation. He highlighted that the West African region encounters similar infrastructural deficits, which are waiting to be filled up, just as Nigeria is faced with a huge deficit. He mentioned that the issues of infrastructure deficits in the West Africa should not be addressed through foreign borrowing, but “from inside”. Shettima was represented by Tope Fasua, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs in the Office of the Vice President.

Innovation has turned out to be an active disadvantage & advantage.

According to Shettima, there is an intense competition among resources and nations. The advancement of technology has ensured that there is a relationship among nations with their products, similar to how businesses that have their hands in billions of pockets globally. He stated that innovation has turned out to be an active disadvantage and advantage based on one’s preparedness for engagement. In addition, he mentioned that this period requires interaction with the public at every platform both online and offline, continuous education, diversification of product offerings, inventiveness, thinking ahead, ingenuity and innovation.

Also, he emphasized that there must be legitimate plan for establishment of a strong base for the country’s capital market to eliminate corrupt elements that might find their ways and get into the market, causing confusion for people on their affiliations and registration with capital market regulators. This is usually done to carry out fraud on people, but SEC has been on guard to apprehend perpetrators of this act. He recognized the effort of individuals and corporates across West Africa, governments and entities that have always contributed to the success of the conference.

Appropriate steps should be considered to address major challenges.

Apparently, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria are the three exchanges in the sub region, while others are just being developed. He probed on the reasons why other West African nations have not grown their exchanges. Also, he inquired about their plans on how to strategize to get companies funded, leverage corporate governance and the advantage of capital formation to play big on global arena. He advised that appropriate steps be considered to address major challenges and constraints that are faced by the youths when they access the market.

Furthermore, there is a medium of creating apps to ameliorate the challenges of the capital market through the use of block chain technology, thereby ensuring transparency of the market. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, stated that the collaboration between the several bodies strengthens the bedrock of the West African region, enhancing a partnership spirit among member states. Sanwo-Olu stated that the governments are aware of the necessities to address the issue of sustainable financing and infrastructure deficit in the sub-region and in Nigeria.

There has been a downturn, which was caused by depreciation of price.

Sanwo-Olu said that economic development of the people and economic growth of the various nations have been hindered by these perennial inadequacies. The Nigerian Exchange Limited’s (NGX) trading in the equities sector was closed on a downtrend due to the depreciation of capitalization by N7 billion, after 19 stock losses. Also, there have been a downturn, which was caused by depreciation of price in medium and large capitalized stocks. They include Lafarge Africa, eTranzact International, Nigerian Breweries, Eterna and United Bank for Africa (UBA).

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