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Nigerian Stock Exchange joins SSE initiative

(29 October 2013) The Nigerian Stock Exchange is the latest exchange to have joined the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, at a bilateral meeting with UNCTAD on the sidelines of this year’s annual conference of the World Federation of Exchanges, in Mexico City.

Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Chief Executive Officer Mr. Oscar Onyema pledged to promote sustainability among NSE-listed companies, at a bilateral meeting with Mr. James Zhan, Director of UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise.

“The Nigerian Stock Exchange is honoured to collaborate with the SSE initiative,” Mr. Onyema said. “This is in line with our commitment to create sustainable value for our stakeholders, and we are confident that this partnership will be pivotal to our goal towards entrenching sustainable business practices.”

With 258 listed securities and a current market capitalization of $114 billion, the Nigerian Stock Exchange is Africa’s second-largest financial centre after the Johannesburg Stock Exchange – which is also a member of the SSE.

“Nigeria is the second-biggest economy in Africa and a critically important market for promoting sustainable development practices in the region,” said Mr. Zhan. “We are delighted that the Nigerian Stock Exchange is joining its peers from South Africa and Egypt, as well as other leading exchanges around the world, in pledging to promote sustainable business practices.”

The SSE initiative is co-organized by UNCTAD, the United Nations Global Compact, the United Nations Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative, and the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment.

The initiative explores how stock exchanges can work together with investors, regulators and companies to enhance corporate transparency – and ultimately performance – on environmental, social and corporate governance issues, and can encourage responsible long-term approaches to investment.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the initiative in 2009, and reaffirmed his support in July 2013 at a special event held in New York City, where he urged stock exchanges around the world to join the SSE.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange is the third African stock exchange to join the SSE, and the eighth worldwide. Other exchanges that are a part of this pioneering group include the New York Stock Exchange Euronext, NASDAQ OMX, the Bombay Stock Exchange, Borsa Istanbul, BM&FBOVESPA (Brazil), the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the Egyptian Exchange.

Following the bilateral meeting between the Nigerian Stock Exchange and UNCTAD on 29 October, Mr. Zhan spoke at a special session of the annual conference of the World Federation of Exchanges on 30 October that was devoted to issues of responsible investment. Speaking alongside the Vice-Chairman of NASDAQ – one of the SSE’s founding signatories – Mr. Zhan reiterated Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for other exchanges around the world to join the SSE initiative.

Stock exchanges, regulators, and sustainability reporting experts will continue their discussion of how to strengthen their approach to responsible investment next week in Geneva, when they gather at the thirtieth annual session of UNCTAD’s Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR).

More than three hundred delegates from about 100 member States will deliberate on new guidance on best practices for policymakers and stock exchanges on sustainability reporting initiatives. French regulator AMF, as well as SSE partner exchanges BM&F Bovespa and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, will be on hand to explain their sustainability reporting initiatives.