Temi Popoola, CEO of Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), stated at the recently concluded Annual Business Luncheon of the Capital Market Solicitors Association 2022 that the problem of access to finance that prevents Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria from playing their role as engines of growth can be addressed through the use of technology to provide creative solutions.
Popoola spoke at the CMSA as Keynote Note speaker on the theme, “Capital Market, Startup Financing and Syndicate Funding: Ability of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to Access the Capital Market,” the NGX CEO highlighted the critical role that Nigeria’s 40 million SMEs play in the economy, saying they have contributed about 48 percent of the national GDP in the last five years, accounted for about 50 percent of industrial jobs and nearly 90 percent of the manufacturing sector in terms of the number of enterprises.
“Long-term solutions are required to address this critical concern and technology presents innovative opportunities to address the SME financing gap through the development of new business models and digital financial products, including equity capital,” he said.
Popoola stated that recent technological advancements are having an impact on how SMEs finance their businesses and transform their operations, citing a 2020 report by the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion.
He said the report, titled “Promoting Digital and Innovative SME Financing”, shared insights on how digital technologies are helping to close the financing gap for SMEs through the adoption of digital financial services solutions.
He said that cutting-edge approaches are assisting SMEs, citing examples including blockchain technology, cloud computing, the internet of things, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML), big data analytics, and inventive application programming interfaces (API).
The 2022 CMSA business luncheon is a unique opportunity for capital market players to lead the conversation on removing the obstacles that prevent small businesses from accessing the variety of financial solutions available in the capital market, according to Adeleke Alex-Adedipe, Partner, DOA and Chairman, Conference Planning Committee, in his opening remarks.
“These solutions will enable them to raise the long-term funds required to spur growth and development of the sector, and in turn, ignite Nigeria’s socio-economic development,” he said