New York, May 12: Sixteen new listings, spurred by privatizations and private equity fund exits, are a key target for Africa’s top-performing securities exchange. The Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, is among the world’s most successful integrated regional exchanges, linking eight West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo).
In New York this week, 30 US frontier investors, stockbrokers and market specialists joined Mr. Edoh Kossi Amenounve, CEO of BRVM, in a strategic dialogue. Suggestions from the Americans included lower stockbroker commissions, more listings, liquidity, and stepping up listed company reporting to international financial reporting standards (IFRS).
The BRVM has 36 listed bonds and 39 listed companies, and expects four new listings in 2016, following initial public offers (IPOs). In 2015, the BRVM Composite Index rose by 17.77% making it Africa’s top-performing equity index to foreign investors.
Amenounve says: “Most of the economies are not badly affected by the oil price. They are growing through regional linkages. We saw 6.6% GDP growth in our markets in 2015 and expect 7.2% this year. BRVM is different from other markets as our currency, the CFA franc, is pegged to the value of the euro. We offer yield, without the high volatility seen in other African markets.”
The value of trading on the BRVM exchange rose 48% in 2015. Amenounve says local participation is growing even faster: “More and more citizens are becoming shareholders, which is the best way for our people to take ownership of our growth drivers and means of production. In 2012 foreign investors made up 55% of the trading, but the local share had risen to 75% by 2015, of much bigger trading volumes. In 2011, domestic collective investment schemes managed XOF 30bn of assets, but by the end of 2015 that was XOF 600bn, a 20-fold increase.”
Amenounve is leading plans to integrate five West African markets – Nigeria, Ghana, BRVM, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone – by 2020 to form Africa’s second biggest exchange after Johannesburg, with 273 listed companies and 233 brokerage firms. He has been Chairman of the West African Capital Markets Integration Council (WACMIC) since March 2015 and explained the three-step plan for integration:
* Phase 1 is sponsored access for brokerage firms, which was launched in July 2015 and has seen several transactions between Ghana and Nigeria.
* Phase 2 will be a “common passport”, giving a regional stockbroker direct access to any market.
* Phase 3 will be to follow the Euronext model, with a single trading platform and a single order book for all the markets.
The BRVM is Africa’s sixth securities exchange by market capitalization ($12.8 billion for equities and $2.7 billion debt) in 2015. It represents an economic area of more than 100 million consumers, with fast, diversified growth. See more at: www.brvm.org.
The meeting was organized by AZ Media in New York and ourselves, African Growth Partners Ltd.