The NSE Essay Competition is one of the NSE’s financial literacy and inclusion initiatives aimed at bridging the gap between classroom learning and practical knowledge required for long-term personal financial planning. It serves as an essential platform to get the perspectives of our young ones on key challenges relating to financial literacy and inclusion in Nigeria. The competition’s overall goal is to develop a culture of wealth creation amongst our youth towards “Building a Financially Savvy Generation”.
While the youth segment is often recognized as a priority target for financial education, I wish to reiterate that financial literacy is relevant to all segments of our population and at all levels. It is no longer reserved for the chosen few because of the positive direct impact this can have on promoting livelihoods, economic growth, sound financial systems, and poverty reduction.
G20 Leaders have recognized the important role of financial education policies notably by endorsing in 2012 the OECD International Network for Financial Education (OECD/INFE) High-level Principles on National Strategies for Financial Education. These Principles provide international guidance to policy makers with a view to developing evidence-based and coordinated and tailored approaches to financial education, both in emerging markets and more advanced economies.
In 2015, OECD, reported that 59 economies worldwide are implementing national strategies using guidance from the Principles, a number that has more than doubled in less than five years. This shows increasing recognition of the significance of financial literacy in both developed and emerging economies.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange has for many years implemented and supported a number of programmes in line with the National Financial Literacy Framework (NFLF), which contribute to raising the level of financial literacy in Nigeria. To date, we have executed over 200 free capacity building workshops, aimed at enhancing investor understanding of the basics of investing. The multiplier effect of these workshops is phenomenal, as approximately 16,000 retail investors from the grassroots can now make better investment decisions.
Improving financial literacy is at the core of what we do at the NSE because we recognize that the ability to make well-informed financial decisions plays an important part in the ability of individuals to manage financial affairs well, a factor that can have either a negative or positive ripple effect on the economy. I am proud to say that with the NSE Essay Competition, we have established a strong foundation for improving the financial literacy and capability of Nigerians. Through this competition, we have been able to promote financial literacy among young Nigerians, by encouraging them to learn how good financial decisions can better their lives now and in the future, and ultimately grow the economy.
Over the past 16 years, the Exchange has through this laudable initiative impacted the lives of many Nigerian youths in various secondary schools positively. We have been able to inspire over 37,000 young people in more than 7,000 schools across Nigeria to learn how good financial decisions can better their lives now and in the future, and ultimately grow the economy. The impact of the competition is commendable as the Exchange continues to record increased number of participation and overall, high level of interest which has altogether created greater awareness of the dynamics of the stock exchange. Our gratitude goes to the parents, principals and teachers for the concerted efforts and support in enhancing the whole-person development of these young talents. To your credit, we received 7,400 essays, representing 76% growth in the number of essays received for the previous year. This increase in participation is a testament to the great works by school leaders who continue to inspire the future leaders. Our employees across our branch network working with our implementing agency, E-green services leveraged school assemblies to teach students about financial literacy whilst encouraging them to participate in the NSE Essay competition. They visited 250 schools across 4 geo-political zones and reached 17,000 students. They all deserve a wonderful round of applause for helping to further the ambition of building a financially savvy future generation We have also been recognized for our achievements in promoting financial literacy. Recently, we received the “Corporate Achievement Award to a Financial Institution” at the inaugural annual Financial Literacy Excellence (FILEX) Awards, for promoting financial literacy in Nigeria.
To all our students who participated in this year’s edition of the NSE Essay Competition. I would like to personally thank each of you for your hard work. It was very inspiring to note that all the shortlisted participants were enthusiastic and motivated about their input. I have no doubt that every one of you will excel in your future roles and contribute to the future well-being our nation and the world at large, but do always bear in mind that the key to success in life is not to get ahead of other people, but to get ahead of yourself. Let me end by thanking our partners: Access Bank, Presco Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Rand Merchant Bank, FBN Holdings, UTC Nigeria and Mobil Oil. We value your contributions to this initiative and look forward to an even greater support in 2017. I would also like to specially recognize and show appreciation to the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers and our internal team of assessors who assisted in the grading and assessment of the essays. May I emphasize that through your contributions, we have been able to touch lives, inspire learning and enhance capacity development amongst Nigerian students.