World trade has expanded faster than economic growth and has been a vehicle for raising the standard of living in OECD (Organisation Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. African countries have not seen similar trade expansion. Africa's share in world trade is relatively small, accounting for less than 3% as at 2012. This is hardly surprising considering that the most integrated regions in the world are also the most competitive at the global level. The rising share of Asian countries in world trade underscores this point.
The developed economies in Europe, America, Asia and the Pacific have all leveraged on the strength of their Small and Medium-Scaled Enterprise (SME) sector vitality. Today’s mega brands and conglomerates in the developed economies started as SMEs. The performance of SMEs in countries like Brazil and India helped identified them among the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa); while Indonesia and Bangladesh are known among the Next Eleven (N-11) countries.
The annual budget of the Federal Government of Nigeria is always awaited in an anxious anticipation as it plays a major role in driving economic activities with implications for politics, security and business opportunities. The passage of the budget on the 20th of December, 2012 was historical as it was the first time the National Assembly passed the budget before the end of the year since the commencement of the current democracy in 1999.
(Photo L-R: Ade Bajomo, NSE’s ED, Market Operations Technology; Ariyo Olusekun, President, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers; and Haruna Jalo-Waziri, NSE’s ED, Business Development at the announcement of the selected Designated Advisers.)
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) concluded another phase in its plans of nurturing the growth of small to mid-sized companies via the announcement of selected Designated Advisers (DAs) for companies listed on the Alternative Securities Market (ASeM).
The Nigerian Stock Exchange has announced that it will be launching an Alternative Securities Market (ASeM) in April 2013 for Emerging Companies with high potential for growth in Nigeria.
ASeM will be a specialised board on the Nigerian bourse where small to mid-sized companies can access the capital market under less stringent rules and requirements to raise long term, low cost capital.
No economy can grow and improve the living standards of its population in the absence of credit to the real sector. The deposit money banks in Nigeria are not optimally impacting positively on the economy in spite of the momentous support and incentives given to them by the government. The banks contribute little to the Gross National Product (GNP) and encourage high interest rates on lending, making credits inaccessible to the real sector.
There has been a wave of banking sector restructuring and consolidation around the globe, predominantly in the developed and the emerging market economies. This has been driven by globalisation, structural and technological challenges, as well as the integration of financial markets. Banking sector reforms have become important as financial institutions struggle to become more competitive and elastic to shocks. It is also encouraged by the yearning to reposition corporate operations to manage the hitches of an increasingly international banking system.
The Nigerian economy as it is today suffers widespread underutilisation of resources. A very large indigenous human resource base has remained largely disengaged from economic processes through unemployment. Likewise, there has been a flimsy and lopsided effort to exploit and convert the country’s vast natural resources into national income. It would not be out of reason therefore to say that the economy remains stuck in the doldrums. And in such an unhealthy economic state, any attempt toward full employment of resources would entail a frustrating uphill battle.
With a population of approximately 1.07 billion, comprising 54 countries, which are richly endowed in mineral resources, Africa’s economic rhythm has quickened, vibrating with a new commercial enthusiasm. The rate of return on foreign investment is higher in Africa than in any other developing region, corroborating the fact that it is the fastest growing continent in the world. This is evident as seven of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa. Telecommunications, banking, and retailing are flourishing. Construction is booming. Private investment inflows are on the rise.