Tanzania seems to be warming to the idea of linking the East African stock exchanges, in what could eventually be the development of a major regional market.
According to local media reports, Acting CEO of the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange Mary Mniwasa said it is ready to join a software called Smart Order Router which links the securities exchanges of the East African Community member states. She is reported to have said the system will allow a stockbroker from the DSE, the Nairobi Stock Exchange and the Uganda Securities Exchange to see the markets and trade across borders without physically contacting a local market stockbroker.
The report quotes Simon Rutega, CEO of the USE, as saying Uganda fully supports the proposed integration of stock markets in east Africa. They have started using Central Depository Securities for holding securities and assisting in settlement.
The DSE and USE have long been dogged by lack of liquidity and outside investor interest. The newspaper cites a study by Codogan Financial & Associates, funded by the Efficient Securities Markets Institutional Development Initiative of the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank group. According to this, there are simply too few institutions and individuals who wish to invest in East Africa. The objective of the EAC stockmarkets integration is to enable consolidated EAC capital to flow and participants to operate freely across borders
The integration is being guided by an East African Securities Exchange Association, comprising the chief executives of the four exchanges – Dar, Nairobi, Uganda and Rwanda’s recently formed Over-The-Counter market. The original timetable was set in 2008 when the association resolved that a single clearing and settlement infrastructure was to be implemented within 3-6 months after January 2009. Senior members of the NSE are doubtful on progress.
One of the initiatives of the association is to integrate trading, clearing and settlement infrastructures within the EAC to facilitate a faster trading system within the bloc.
Tanzania has previously barred non-citizens from participating in initial public offers, such as when a 21% stake in the National Microfinance Bank was floated last year. In March 2008, it blocked its citizens from participating in the Safaricom IPO in Kenya.