April 12 - Nigeria's stock exchange is attracting some of the world's biggest banks as it recovers from the 2008 financial crisis which wiped nearly two thirds off its value in a year. Hayley Platt reports on one of Africa's star performers.
Nigeria is Africa's second largest economy and its top oil producer. Now it's increasingly becoming the destination of choice when it comes to investing. Its stock exchange, Africa's second largest, was hard hit by the 2008 financial crisis, which wiped out nearly two thirds of its value in a year. But tougher regulations and a new trading system now have top investment banks clambering to join Nigeria's bourse. Oscar Onyema is CEO of the NSE. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OSCAR ONYEMA, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BOURSE, SAYING: "I believe that a great deal of confidence is back in the system and I can point to the fact that the retail investors and the local investors are coming back into the market in droves, especially the institutional investors." Before the stock market bubble burst in 2008, domestic investors owned 85 percent of shares, while foreigners owned the rest. Now foreign investors make up the majority - a figure that's growing along with the bourse's popularity. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OSCAR ONYEMA, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BOURSE, SAYING: "Average daily value traded last year was 17 million dollars, yet to date, this year, its 26 million dollars, so it's a significant increase, certainly not where it was in 2008 when we were doing over 100 million dollars on a daily basis, but we can see the increase and you know, gradually we intend to get to that level and surpass." A new platform using Nasdaq technology will be ready to go online later this year. And several IPOs are in the pipeline. The exchange remains a long way off from its 2016 $1 trillion dollar valuation but it's heading in the right direction. Nigeria's bourse rose 35 percent last year, making it the second best performer in Africa and one of the best in the world.