Foot in the Door

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Kadré Quédraogo

Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, president of ECOWAS Commission, inaugurates the West African Capital Markets Integration Council, a step towards the emergence of a West African Common Investment Market

|  By Maureen Chigbo  |  Feb. 11, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

EFFORT towards creating a West African Common Investment Market, ECIM, got a boost recently when Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, president of ECOWAS Commission, inaugurated the West African Capital Markets Integration Council, WACMIC. WACMIC is the apex governing organ for integrating the region’s capital markets, and one of the pillars for the creation of the West African Common Investment Market.

The council is to harmonise the regulatory environment for the issuance and trading of long-term financial securities across the region as well as the development of a common platform for cross-border quotation, listing and trading of such securities in the regional market.

Mr. Hamid Ahmed, ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Industry, Customs and Free Movement
Mr. Hamid Ahmed, ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Industry, Customs and Free Movement

The Council, which comprises the directors-general and chief executives of the region’s Securities and Exchange Commissions, SECs, and Stock Exchanges, was inaugurated during a courtesy call on the President by the members. The President, who was represented at the inauguration in Abuja, on  January 18, by Hamid Ahmed, ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Industry, Customs and Free Movement, applauded the WACMIC initiative, which is the brainchild of industry stakeholders, and pledged the support of the commission for the council to enable it realise its objectives.

He emphasised the importance of integrating the regional capital markets in savings mobilisation, resource allocation, capital formation and fostering a more efficient and resilient stock markets across the region. The President also challenged the WACMIC to fast-track the integration process to enable the capital market play its role of real sector development in the regional economy.

Members of the Council used the opportunity of the Charter signature ceremony held as part of the inauguration, to reaffirm their commitment to the project and hailed the impending harmonisation of regulations and integration of existing trading platforms into a regional bourse as a milestone in capital market integration in the region.

The charter provides for the harmonisation of operational rules and regulations and member states’ stock exchanges into an integrated stock market.  Two technical committees set up for quotation, listing and membership, and depository, trading, clearing and settlement, have since commenced the harmonisation of the various aspects of capital market operations and regulations in the region. Members of the committees were drawn from the Securities and Exchange Commissions, the Stock Exchanges, depositories, clearing and settlement institutions, market operators, Association of Stock-broking Houses, the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions, and WAMI.

Members of the Council promised to commit resources and personnel towards the realisation of the goal and urged the ECOWAS Commission to provide leadership support to help them discharge their responsibilities while recognising the important role of the West Africa Monetary Institute, WAMI, in ensuring that the milestone is attained.

The process for integrating the region’s capital market started in 2010 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding, MOU, by the Stock Exchanges and the regulatory authorities in the region to deepen cooperation, promote mutual assistance, and facilitate the exchange of information and consultation between and among countries.

This is in conformity with the broad objectives of the International Organisation of Securities Commission, IOSCO, and World Federation of Exchanges, WFE. The Abuja ceremony was attended by directors-general of SECs in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and UEMOA and CEOs of Stock Exchanges in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and the BRVM, (the single market of eight Francophone West African countries).

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