Given the relative scarcity of capital and the small volume of savings in most African economies at independence, the establishment of stock exchanges and their regulation showed that several countries considered them as strategic financial intermediaries for channelling capital to their national, and even regional, economies. This article examines the Lagos Stock Exchange’s formative years as a political process of Nigeria’s decolonisation and the First Republic. Originally incorporated as a private limited liability company on 15 September 1960, and as the first stock exchange in West Africa and the region’s largest economy, the new financial intermediary defined the relationship between the post-independence state and the growing capital market during a period of considerable political and economic changes. The role of the post-independence state and state-owned enterprises in facilitating the trade on the Lagos Stock Exchange broadens the analytical scope of this investigation to identify the sources of Nigeria’s development finance. While significant efforts were taken to grow private individual participation in the share trade and ownership, the early years of the Lagos Stock Exchange were ultimately marked by the dominance of institutional investors such as state-owned enterprises and private commercial banks.
The initial idea and motivation for this investigation was discussed with Chibuike Uche. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2020 Global History of State-Enterprises in Developing Countries Digital Workshop and the 2021 Congress on World and Global History in Turku. I would like to thank Dmitri van den Bersselaar, Eleanor Cruickshank, Marie Huber, Alexander Keese, Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, Enrique Martino, Tinashe Nyamunda and Klas Rönnbäck for their feedback on initial drafts of this paper. I am also extremely grateful to Damilola Adebayo and Jacob Olaoluwa Adesina for sharing archival material from Cambridge and Ibadan with me. Any errors or oversights are mine.
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