The Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) is in talks with the Africa Exchange on a linkage program that will see six stock exchanges merge in facilitating cross-border trade in stocks.
NSE CEO Geoffrey Odundo said this is a “High priority. We are looking looking at how the pilot will take place this year,” ahead of a scheduled financial conference market in March this year.
The the markets include: Nairobi Securities Exchange, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Casablanca Securities Exchange, Stock Exchange of Mauritius and Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières.
The linkage will open new investment avenues for investors keen on diversifying their portfolio beyond Kenya’s economy.
According to Odundo, the discussions are revolving around the harmonising trading rules and regulations, settlement cycles, listing fees and the cost of trading in shares and bonds across the countries.
The NSE boss further said they are planning on tax cuts, to attract pension funds into trading and upgrading of the trading platform to allow for short selling to increase listings on the bourse.
He says this will increase traded capital making the bourse more vibrant and in the process enhance better valuation for listed companies.
George Asante, the Barclays Managing Director and Head of Markets (Africa ex. SA) said that over 60 percent of Kenya’s securities market is dominated by foreign investors which leaves it vulnerable to global shocks.
“Kenya has the seventh largest stock exchange by market capitalization and the sixth largest bond listing of the countries covered by the Index, giving it high scores for market depth. However, with liquidity on the continent concentrated in South Africa, Egypt and Morocco, Kenya’s turnover score is at the average for the Index countries, giving it a low liquidity score,” he said.
They were speaking during the inaugural Barclays Africa Group Financial Markets Index by Barclays Bank that ranked Kenya’s financial markets as the most advanced in the East African region and fifth in Africa.