The Benefits of Integrated Regional Capital Markets

Kaliou Traore addressing participants

The Economic Community of West African States has held a sensitizing workshop for operators and regulator in the capital, advising them to do same for citizens of member states to create awareness importance of stock exchanges in wealth creation in the region

THE ECOWAS Commission wants market operators and other stakeholders to step up citizenship awareness of the roles of capital markets in wealth creation and management and overall economic development so as to maximize the benefits of the upcoming integrated regional capital markets. “The need has never been more rife than on this occasion of our drive for an interlocked regional market, for you to seize the opportunity of access to markets across borders to horn your product development strategies and improve product quality, packaging, innovation and completion in ways that will make the markets more attractive to the uninitiated, especially the unsophisticated investors,” the ECOWAS commissioner for Industry and Investment Promotion, Kaliou Troaore, said in an address to a sensitization workshop for captains of securities and exchange commissions, stock exchanges and other stakeholders in the region on Wednesday April 2, in Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire.

Alfred Braimah, ECOWAS Director of Private Sector
Alfred Braimah, ECOWAS Director of Private Sector

The workshop, the fourth in the series approved by the West African Capital Market Integration Council, WACMIC, as platforms to engage with stakeholders, create sufficient awareness and gain the support and ownership of the process by market operators and the investing community, is preparatory to the commencement of the implementation of the three-phased West African Capital Markets integration roadmap this month within the framework of the ECOWAS-led regional market integration process.

In the address read on his behalf by Peter Oluonye, the commissioner noted that accessing the integrated regional capital market would enable operators “unlock the idle resources that could be directed to the market to catalyze inclusion and economic development,” adding that professional ethics and corporate governance must also guide operators initiatives and operations in the new market arrangement so as to galvanize regional trust and confidence and ensure sustainability of benefits that would accrue from integration.

He said the Commission “is excited at the enormous opportunities to be unleashed in the new capital markets integration landscape” and enjoined the market operators “to gain all insight into the working of the new capital markets in our region as we anticipate more cross-border capital issues, listings and securities-trading in our region, going forward.”

Drammeh, Kone, Traore & Candide Leguede, President Fed of Business Women & Entrepreneurs
Drammeh, Kone, Traore & Candide Leguede, President Fed of Business Women & Entrepreneurs

In their remarks, Mory Soumhoro, secretary general of the Regional Council for Public Savings and Financial Market represented by Thomas Ananouh and the Director General of the West African Regional Stock Exchanges, Edoh Kossi Amenounve, who is also the WACMIC vice chairman, underlined the importance of integrated capital markets to the realisation of the regional vision of a single currency, enhanced economic development and ensuring a competitive edge for the region in the global market.

Declaring the meeting opened, the director general of the West African Monetary Institute, Abwaku Englama urged market operations and other stakeholders to continue the sensitisation until the full realization of the market integration objective.

Oscar Onyema, The CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and WACMIC chairman, presented an overview of the West African Capital Markets Integration, highlighting the roadmap for the implementation of the process.

At its 4th Meeting that preceded the sensitization workshop, WACMIC reached some key resolutions supporting the implementation of the regional Capital Market Integration. These include approvals of Sponsored Access Framework; Harmonized Listing Requirements and Minimum Standards for Corporate Governance; Common Passports for Capital Market Operators; as well as Short- and Long-term Professional Certification.

Photo of participants at the Private sector meeting on ECOWAS Investment Code and Policy
Photo of participants at the Private sector meeting on ECOWAS Investment Code and Policy

WACMIC is one of the pillars for the creation of the West African Common Investment Market, ECIM, and seeks to help entrench a harmonized regulatory environment for the issuance and trading of long-term financial securities across the region as well as develop a common platform for cross-border quotation, listing and trading of such securities in the regional market.

The Abidjan workshop, co-organised by the ECOWAS Commission and WACMIC precedes the take-off of the first phase of the markets integration roadmap, which would enable sponsored stock-brokers of other Member States to trade on the existing stock exchanges using the platform of the sponsoring broker.

Participants included directors general of Securities and Exchanges Commission, managing directors and chief executive officers of Stock Exchanges, Stock brokers, Issuing Houses, Registrars, Fund Managers, Legislators and other stakeholders in the capital markets of ECOWAS member states.

The Sensitisation workshop will be followed by a three-day meeting of private sector stakeholders on the Draft ECOWAS Investment Code and Policy also in the Ivorian capital. This will enable the stakeholders to discuss and agree on the content of the Code and Policy and also provide an avenue for the private sector to be sensitized on the provisions of the draft Code and Policy.

— Apr. 14, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

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