CAIRO – Sunil Benimadhu, CEO of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius and re-elected President of the African Stock Exchanges Association (ASEA) told the opening session of the African stock exchanges that the capital markets should play a key role in investment flows to drive growth. This is a summary of his keynote address:
The world is changing: In a chart of the top 10 world economies in 2011 the US heads the world and many European countries are there. But the whole picture changes when you look at 2050, you see Nigeria and Egypt in the world’s top ten economies. Six out of the top ten countries by GDP growth from 2001-2010 are Africa and if you look at the projections from 2010-2015 7 of the top 10 are African. It is extremely clear that we are witnessing a change.
This conference is addressing the right issues: How can we attract more capital flows to Africa, how can we use stock exchanges to support this? The themes are:
• How do we get the message across to the largest companies in Africa to list on the African exchanges? Many big companies are going to raise capital in other markets when they should be raising it locally.
• How can we get our political leaders actively to support the development of capital markets? If you look at the history of other emerging markets you see that capital markets have played a very critical role in driving their development.
• It is also critical for us to engage with key institutions, including the African Development Bank, so the institutions can help take the capital markets to the next level.
• Africa is growing at 5-6%, but how do we go about doubling the GDP growth, how do we move from resource-based to more value-added growth, how do we move up the value chain?
• We need to keep improving the business climate, while implementing inclusive growth that propels the middle class to the forefront of economic activity, while embracing democratic principles.
“There is a very fine line between Africa rising and Africa uprising”. Africa is on the cusp of an economic revolution today, the next 10 years are going to be very different and to bring very different lives for the people. To tap this tremendous potential we need to keep working very hard, making the right decisions.
The conference website is here www.aseaegypt2012.org.