by Bukola Akinyele
With Nigeria’s need to invest in infrastructure to unlock the economy and create more jobs, the prospects for increasing financing through alternative sources came to the fore at a recent Islamic Finance forum in Lagos.
The forum explored how to deepen the financing of Africa’s infrastructure deficits through Islamic Finance with products like Sukuk Bonds creating opportunities for stronger market intervention.
In her remarks, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Emerging Africa Capital Mrs. Toyin Sanni believed that as Africa sets out to achieve its sustainable development goals in the new decade, Islamic Finance has the potential to support these aspirations through its financing model.
She reminded stakeholders that Africa has a lot to do in the area of addressing social issues like the eradication of poverty, achieving zero hunger, providing clean water, and having access to good health which are part of the key components of the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.
According to Sanni, creative financing solutions is about improving the quality of life of Nigerians achievable through the development of critical infrastructure.
Speaking further, she noted that across Africa, here is a massive infrastructure gap that needs various types of funding, including non-interest finance covered by Islamic Finance.
She said there are investable funds that are in the middle east, far east, Europe and other parts of the globe that are looking for attractive outlets that meet certain criteria and that is where the Sukuk market comes to play.
In terms of opportunities for the market, she was of the view that there is a lot more that could be happening both in Nigeria and in the rest of Africa.
She stressed the fact that there is a significant capacity gap to address as a market, such as an inadequate number of institutions that offer tailored products.
On Sukuk, Sanni said that they provide viable opportunities for Nigeria to raise capital, meet its huge infrastructure needs and also provide opportunities for the nation to include those who will otherwise not invest in the market.
“For us to get to where we need to go, the regulators, the operators and all other stakeholders have a significant role to play in deepening the non-interest finance market and making it attractive to investors.”
Sanni said one of the initiatives developed through the capital market committee is to inculcate capital market studies which will include non-interest finance products in the curriculum for both secondary schools and tertiary institutions across Nigeria.