The African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA)—a premier association of 25 securities exchanges from across the continent—held its annual conference in Johannesburg from 15 – 17 November.
According to the ASEA President Oscar Onyema the theme of the conference—Africa Evermore: Growth for sustainability—embodied the potential, growth, and stability of Africa’s capital markets. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), the continent’s largest and member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), will host the conference.
“The Conference is important as it features high level discussions covering themes that are relevant to our capital markets and opportunities to network with leading industry players from across the continent,” said Onyema.
JSE Chief Executive Officer Nicky Newton-King said the packed two-day programme would provide delegates with an in-depth understanding of the strength resulting from the integration of Africa’s security exchanges.
“Those who operate in the regulated market need to know that we are part of the global financial markets,” she said. “We are already beginning to see this for example in East Africa, where they are driving significant regional connectivity.”
One of the topics up for discussion was to look at the “Role of the Exchange as a Corporate Citizen”. Increasingly, investment decisions are being driven by considerations of risk, impact, and sustainability that are far wider than just financial returns. ASEA assists in promoting and educating members and stakeholders on the importance of socially responsible investments and the need to pay attention to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.
Delegates had the opportunity to explore how to attract Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) investors and examine how they see Africa’s Exchanges. Malawi Stock Exchange CEO John Kamanga, who was moderating the discussion, said the Conference played a large role in focusing attention on what was happening on the African stock exchanges.
A number of ASEA’s member countries have already launched SWFs, including Angola, Ghana, and Nigeria. SWFs invest surplus revenues and can be an effective fiscal stabilisation mechanism, enabling governments to access liquid assets, and channel investment into specific projects like infrastructure development.
“The ASEA Conference serves to confirm that we are open and ready to do business,” said Kamanga. “There are, of course, the inherent benefits of being able to network and interact with our colleagues, with the international fund managers and stock exchange members, and with all this comes the transfer of skills and knowledge.”
Newton-King concurred. “It is about finding ways to share knowledge and experiences so as to build depth and sophistication of African markets across the continent that will allow linkages to develop over time.”
Onyema said that capital markets have been the key drivers of Africa’s economic transformation and continue to play a central role in the continent’s growth story.
“The conference is another step in establishing the sustainable development of African capital markets, finding ways to facilitate and increase market access at the regional level, and promoting greater interconnection among African exchanges,” he said.
By HWB Communications on behalf of the JSE