Today I was granted the honor of ringing the closing gong at the Nigeria Stock Exchange, which has about 200 listed companies. And even though the stocks are electronically traded, the exchange still maintains a trading floor where brokers come and do business.
It is Africa"s second largest, although a long way behind the Johannesburg market. In these difficult economic times, the daily trading value is around $10 million, which is dramatically down from its 2007 highs of $100 million.
The market has a young, vibrant management that’s introduced strict oversight and regulation. It deploys the latest software to discover any insider trading. It is forging new relations with experienced exchanges, especially the London Stock Exchange.
There are some uniquely Nigerian customs – trading starts with Muslim prayers and finishes with Christian blessings. And they use a traditional gong rather than a bell. (The Nigerian hospitality was also on display when I visited the Nike Art Gallery, as evidenced in the photograph below.)
With a clear purpose, and the largest potential investor base, the Nigerian exchange will someday be a force to reckon with.
Now ring that gong…