Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms. Arunma Oteh

The Chairperson, Africa Middle East Regional Committee, International Organisation of Securities Commission, Ms. Arunma Oteh, has called on regulators under AMERC to work towards overcoming emerging challenges.

According to her, they can build on the growth witnessed in 2013 by doing this.

She made the call on Monday in Livingstone, Zambia at the 32nd IOSCO AMERC meeting, which had the theme, ‘Balancing development with emerging regulatory challenges.’

Oteh, who is also the Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission, observed that although there had been a significant growth in capital markets, there were many emerging challenges that needed to be addressed for the growth to be sustained.

“We are meeting at a time when the world is just trying to recover from the global economic crisis. The Africa/Middle East regions are expected to contribute more significantly to global economic growth because of their rising income, population and growing middle class.

“Capital flow to South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to quote just one of the statistics that abound across the world today, was worth $89bn in 2013.”

Oteh, however, stressed that for capital markets in Africa and the Middle East to effectively play their expected role, they must strive to balance development with emerging regulatory challenges.

“This turning point is possible only if we leverage the values that world-class markets bring to society. This is because capital markets provide medium to long-term funding for infrastructure financing, business expansion and, ultimately, the growth and development of the economy,” she said.

She stressed that regulators were instrumental to the recent successes witnessed by Exchanges, adding that cooperation by regulators across borders was vital.

“We recognise that we have challenges. Our markets do not have the depth that they should have. We have challenges in terms of liquidity, listing and efficiency. Our capital markets do not really represent our economies,” Oteh said.

To overcome the challenges, she said membership of IOSCO was vital as it would facilitate access to expertise and key resources.

The Deputy Secretary General, IOSCO, Mr. Tajinder Singh, assured participants at the meeting of IOSCO’s willingness to provide assistance where necessary.

According to him, beyond setting a global standard, IOSCO also seeks to promote the development of emerging markets.

He added that in working with the likes of the G20 to carry out global regulatory reforms, IOSCO was conscious of the likely global consequences.

According to him, considering the fact that bank lending is dwindling due to regulatory changes, capital markets have to fill the gap by playing a greater role.

He, therefore, joined Oteh in calling on countries that were not IOSCO members to join and endorse the Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding aimed at encouraging greater corporation and information sharing among members.

Zambia’s Minister of Finance, Alexander Chikwanda, urged delegates at the meeting to find ways of giving small businesses access to capital via the capital market.

“One of the challenges we have is that our businesses have limited access to capital in the long term,” he said, stressing that the small firms were the most affected.

He added, “The key question I wish to leave with you is ‘how can you help small and medium scale companies to access capital so that they can create wealth and jobs and reduce inequality?’

Source : Punch