The JSE is hosting an important conference that aims to help develop Africa’s capital markets


In a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, one statistic regarding the economic potential of Africa stands out: consumer spending is set to rise from $860 billion in 2008 to $1.4 trillion in 2020. Overall growth on the continent has been strong in recent years, supported by positive market reforms and increased investment.

Sub-Saharan Africa should continue to be one of the fastest-developing regions, despite the volatility and uncertainty in the world economy. Capital markets have been the key drivers of this economic transformation and they will continue to play an important part in the continent’s advancement.

The African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) – a grouping of 25 of the continent’s stock exchanges – has been one of the major institutions behind this progress.

Established in 1993, ASEA works with African member exchanges to unlock the potential of capital markets by promoting development among members, promoting training and capacity building, enhancing good governance practices and helping attract investors by developing statistical information regarding the exchanges.

In November, the JSE will be hosting the annual ASEA conference, where participants will include regulators, institutional investors and represent-atives of listed companies and governments. ‘The upcoming ASEA conference will be an opportunity to share our experiences and insights through high-level discussions covering issues that are relevant to African capital markets,’ says Oscar Onyema, CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and president of ASEA.

This year’s theme is ‘Africa evermore’, which will express the potential, growth and stability of Africa’s capital markets. Among the topics for discussion are the challenges and opportunities of commodity derivative exchanges on the continent; whether Africa needs a pan-African clearing house serving all its exchanges across asset classes; the role of the exchange as a corporate citizen; and the search for sovereign wealth fund investors: how to attract them and how they see Africa’s exchanges.

JSE CEO Nicky Newton-King will be one of the speakers, along with Egyptian Exchange chairman Mohamed Omran, Stock Exchange of Mauritius CEO Sunil Benimadhu, Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières CEO Edoh Kossi Amenounve and Malawi Stock Exchange CEO John Kamanga.

‘The biggest advantage of the ASEA conference is that it focuses attention on the African stock exchanges, and serves to confirm that we are open and ready to do business,’ says Kamanga. ‘There are, of course, the inherent benefits of being able to network and interact with our colleagues and with the international fund managers and stock exchange members. With all this comes the transfer of skills and knowledge.

‘Infrastructure is a priority in Africa and increasingly governments are looking to capital markets to help fund that development.

‘The ASEA conference will make it clear that while Africa is the world’s youngest economy, it has huge potential for growth, which makes it highly desirable to investors. We can only succeed in this if we work together and co-operate on broader issues of regulation and governance.

One for All
‘It focuses attention on the African stock exchanges, and serves to confirm we are open and ready to do business’


‘For Malawi, the conference will be our platform to let others on the continent and internationally know that we are a vibrant economy and our stock exchange is ready to take its place among the international investment community.’

Zeona Jacobs, ASEA executive committee member and Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the JSE, says: ‘By hosting this event, the JSE will serve to further position Africa as a serious global contender in the financial services and securities exchange sector.

‘ASEA has been successful in attracting capital inflows to key markets in Africa by positioning them as key engines of economic growth and opportunities for business development.

‘The conference highlights the important role its members have in advancing the exchange market and raising Africa’s global competitive-ness in this sector,’ she says.

By John Rossouw
Image: Gallo/GettyImages