The Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima, has issued a call to action for West African capital markets to embrace digital products as a means to deter the youth from falling victim to Ponzi schemes. He made this appeal during the opening ceremony of the third West Africa Capital Market Conference (WACMaC) held under the theme “Infrastructural Deficit and Sustainable Financing in an Integrated West African Capital Market,” in Lagos.
Speaking on behalf of the Vice President, Dr. Tope Fasua, Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs, highlighted the importance of using digital investment products to engage young West Africans. Shettima expressed his concern regarding the surge in cryptocurrencies and other complex financial instruments, often leading to unfortunate outcomes, in West Africa.
He implored market operators to address these challenges head-on and adapt to the digital age. “I beseech you to deliberate in your meetings on how to meet the challenges where they reside presently. Meet young West Africans online. Create Apps that they can relate to. Use blockchains where necessary, to show transparency and to give them some of the control that they seek,” he advised.
Shettima emphasised the need to demonstrate the value, stability, history, structure, resilience, and sustainability of capital market investments to the youth, encouraging them to opt for legitimate investment options rather than falling prey to risky ventures.
He underscored the importance of innovation, ingenuity, forward-thinking, and diversification of product offerings during these times of economic uncertainty. Shettima stressed the necessity of weeding out unscrupulous individuals involved in market scams and highlighted the role of regulatory bodies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in pursuing such individuals.
The Vice President also called for the harnessing of the capital market to address the infrastructural deficits in Nigeria and the West African region. He noted that the capital market is central to the development of Nigeria, including corporate sectors, industries, and infrastructural projects. Shettima emphasised the need to be innovative and forward-looking to compete effectively on the global stage.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Lamido Yuguda, Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Chairman of the West Africa Securities Regulators Association (WASRA), highlighted the collaborative efforts of various entities in the region to create a unified capital market within West Africa. The integration project is divided into three phases, with Phase III aiming to establish the West Africa Securities Market, which will deepen West African capital markets and broaden the range of capital market instruments and issuances for funding private and public enterprises and infrastructure in the region.