Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, Director-General, Pension Commission of Nigeria, Nigeria
Nigeria’s economic rebasing in 2014 showed it to be the largest economy in Africa and pushed it onto the agendas of global investors. The country’s local currency bonds are listed on international indices.
However, it is local investment money that may be key to the longer-term development of its financial system. Nigerian institutions are major investors in the stock and bond markets, but are still relatively small players in alternative assets, such as private equity.
As Director-General of the Pension Commission of Nigeria (PCCN), Chinelo Anohu-Amazu could be one of the most powerful financial players in the continent, as changes to the country’s pension system, under the Pension Reform Bill 2014, bolster the fund’s financial resources. By increasing the rate and size of contributions to the state pension scheme, the law could massively swell the PCCN’s coffers to upwards of $80bn.
Anohu-Amazu, who became acting Director-General in 2012, was confirmed as the PCCN’s permanent head in October 2014. During her two years in charge, the fund’s assets have grown from an $11m deficit to an investible fund of $25bn.
Those assets will need be put to work, as Nigeria looks towards building a welfare system for its huge population.
Rising living standards and life expectancy will mean that in the long term, the fund will develop huge liabilities. To meet those, it will have to invest in high-growth assets in the short term. More reforms will be needed to allow the fund to chase returns outside of Nigeria and in alternative assets, but 2015 could mark the creation of a new force in African finance.