Africa’s stock exchanges meet but size holds them back

 

AS THE trading bell rings, a handful of brokers, in crisp scarlet jackets, gather around a whiteboard at the Rwanda Stock Exchange in Kigali. There are only seven listed companies, and it takes just a couple of minutes to write up the day’s bids. But Celestin Rwabukumba, its chief executive, is excited for the future. “If it works elsewhere, then why not here?” he asks.

Why not indeed? Johannesburg, with a market capitalisation of nearly $1trn, is in a league of its own. But sub-Saharan Africa has many small exchanges, lots of them created in the 1990s to help privatise state enterprises. Most struggle to attract new issues. Seven of the eight domestic listings on the Uganda Securities Exchange came from government divestments. Older exchanges, in Kenya and Nigeria, are dominated by big firms: a third of Nigeria’s market is the Dangote Group, a conglomerate with interests from cement to salt.

Stock-exchange leaders were in Kigali this week for the annual conference of the African Securities Exchanges Association. Much of the talk was about coaxing smaller, family-owned businesses to list. But many owners are loth…Continue reading

This post was originally published in the Economist.

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Africa’s stock exchanges meet but size holds them back

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