Head-Investment Banking, Stanbic Bank Ghana, Kobby Bentsi-Enchill has reiterated the importance of capital markets in sustainable development across the West Africa sub-region. Mr. Bentsi-Enchill said this at the third biennial West Africa Capital Market Conference (WACMaC) held in Lagos, Nigeria.
Speaking on the ‘Role of Capital Markets in Fuelling Sustainable Development in West Africa’, Kobby Bentsi-Enchill said capital markets provide critical financial support to both governments and corporates for sustainable infrastructure. He noted: “Capital markets are a significant source of funding and crucial for sustainable development globally, although in West Africa we are yet to fully tap into its immense potential. Beyond the typical sources of funding governments employ – such as taxation, borrowing and grants from international institutions, it’s possible for governments to issue sovereign bonds in the capital markets to raise funds for sustainable infrastructure development, social programmes and other key green initiatives”.
He added: “For the private sector, capital markets provide an avenue for corporates to access funding for their capital expenditure, projects development and other long-term needs, and this contributes directly to economic growth. We see this more specifically across sectors such as power and infrastructure, where there’s a lot of focus on energy transition and renewables. We have also seen how developing our domestic capital markets can encourage foreign direct investment inflows, by way of direct participation and issuances or through extension of credit guarantees”.
Kobby Bentsi-Enchill further shared some key points which, for him, will ensure the effectiveness of West African capital markets. “It is essential to note that the effectiveness of capital markets depends on a number of factors. The first is enhanced regulatory and legal framework – the more we review and update our regulations to ensure they are in keeping with global best practices, the more likely we will develop.
“The second is financial literacy and awareness. Our investor community needs to be sustainability conscious so they will invest not just for yield but also to drive sustainable development. Third is investor protection, which is key because it generates confidence in markets. And fourth is political stability, which encourages players to take a long-term view of markets and adapt their financing approach accordingly. The last thing I want to share is enhanced integration across our regional financial market infrastructure and harmonisation of regulations across the sub-region.”
With regard to what Standard Bank is doing in the area of sustainable financing, Mr. Bentsi-Enchill said: “Sustainable financing is a key value-driver that underpins our purpose at Standard Bank. Our mantra is ‘Africa is our home and we drive her growth’. A key priority for us, therefore, is championing sustainable growth and development within the bank as well as with our clients. Key impact areas we focus on are financial inclusion, job creation and enterprise growth, infrastructure development, facilitation of Africa trade and investment, climate change and sustainable finance, education and health”.
The third biennial WACMaC was hosted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Nigeria; Securities and Exchange Commission, Ghana; and AMFAO, in collaboration with the West Africa Securities Regulators Association (WASRA), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), West Africa Capital Market Integration Council (WACMIC) and West African Monetary Institute (WAMI). The conference was held around the general theme ‘Infrastructural deficit and sustainable financing in an integrated West Africa Capital Market’.