African securities exchanges need to play a stronger role in harnessing Africa’s growth opportunities. This was the view of Sunil Benimadhu, President of the African Securities Exchanges Association (www.africansea.org) and CEO of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (www.stockexchangeofmauritius.com), when he addressed the 14th annual conference in Livingstone, Zambia, held last week (10-12 November).
The theme of the meeting was “Integration of African Markets through Technology”. The Conference delegates included leaders and staff from African securities exchanges and representatives of the investment community and financial services sector. It was hosted by Zambia’s Lusaka Stock Exchange (www.luse.co.zm).
Mr Benimadhu, the ASEA President, said: “African countries and African stock markets being considered as the last growth frontier in the world.” He said the conference came “at a very propitious time when the African continent is increasingly being viewed by investors worldwide as a very promising investment destination with tremendous present and future growth potential”. He noted Africa is home to 25% of the world’s resources, many African countries have achieved growth rates exceeding 5% in recent years after embracing fundamental structural reform programmes, and investors are increasingly looking for superior returns outside their traditional markets.
He pledged that ASEA, as the apex body of securities exchanges in Africa, will implement a value-enhancing plan to strengthen the role of African securities exchanges in harnessing the continent’s growth opportunities, in partnership with private and public sectors.
The conference was officially opened by Hon. Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane, Zambia’s Minister of Finance & National Planning, who said that African capital markets have a key role to play in mobilizing portfolio capital to facilitate economic development and create jobs for our youth.
Other topics discussed included:
• “Exchange liquidity – drivers of better liquidity”, Clifford Sacks (CEO South Africa and Head of Pan-African Equities, Renaissance Capital);
• “Creating a pan-African hub for seamless trading, clearing and settlement”, Anthony Mahinda Thomas Weerisghe (CEO of MillenniumIT and Director of Global Development, London Stock Exchange Group);
• “Financial literacy grows economies”, Maureen Dlamini (Senior General Manager, Education & Executive Head, Africa Board, JSE Ltd.);
• “The role of African carbon credit exchange in the development of African carbon markets”, Okey Oramah (Vice President, African Export–Import Bank);
• A fund manager’s perspective of asset management in African markets, Jonathan.Auerbach (Managing Director, Auerbach Grayson & Company, New York);
• A panel discussion on “Regional integration of African exchanges – what are the opportunities and challenges?” featured the CEOs of the Nairobi Stock Exchange, Bourse de Casablanca, and Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and chaired by Mr Benimadhu.