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Kenya to host Africa Securities Exchange conference

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Kenya is set to host the 18th Africa Securities Exchange Association (ASEA) Conference this year as it seeks to strengthen its position as having one of Africa’s most vibrant securities exchanges.

The conference which is scheduled to be held in Diani, Kenya, from 23rd to 25th of November will be hosted by the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), which just concluded a successful demutualization process.

According to Edward Njoroge, the chairman of the NSE, the ASEA conference will see twenty three African securities exchanges converge in the country all with the aim of discussing and resolving emerging issues in the African Capital Markets.

“This year’s theme is Africa on the Rise: Strengthening the Capital Markets Ecosystem to Fuel Economic Growth and we already have confirmed participation from pur copunterparts from Nigeria, South Africa and Mauritius which are home to some of the best performing security exchanges in the continent,” he said.

This is the third time that the ASEA conference which was formed in Kenya in 1993, is being held in the country and the NSE anticipates a large attendance from investors, fund managers, intermediaries and governments.

“There has been a lot of talk about Africa rising which is true because Africa is rising but we want explore how African exchanges can strengthen the ecosystem to enable African economies manage this growth,” states Mr. Njoroge.

“In this light we shall be exploring some of the products available through African exchanges like Real Estate Investment Trusts, REITs for the real estate sector and Exchange Trade Funds, ETFs which help businesses hedge against risk which is a big part of business,” he explains.

Kenya will be closely watched after the Nairobi Securities Exchange posted a 663.7 percent over-subscription in its Initial Public Offer earlier this month.

Eager investors applied for 504 million shares against the sale of 66 million shares making the NSE IPO the largest over-subscription in the bourse’s 60-year history. Analysts stated that the 3.8 million shares offered for sale were too few prompting a scramble by investors which is bound to raise up the value of the stock.

The NSE share price was trading at record highs of sh23 from Sh9.50 debut three weeks ago driven by high demand from both institutional and retail investors.

The self-listing has seen the NSE join the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) as the second exchange in Africa to demutualize and list itself.

The ASEA conference will be opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta and includes a line-up of top business executives including Bob Collymore, Joshua Oigara and Paul Muthaura.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has renewed the government’s commitment to create a favourable regulatory environment for the growth and expansion of East Africa’s capital markets.

In his welcome note to participants, the president further challenged fund managers and market custodians to demystify the capital markets echo system to allow for more participation from retail investors.

“Exchanges all over the continent play a vital role in enabling our countries grow and develop,” he stated. “Economic growth requires a diverse, robust and competitive commercial sector, complemented by strong trade, banking and finance, manufacturing and service industries.”

“Exchanges create the opportunities for mobilising such resources and facilitate mergers and acquisitions in a manner that confers mutual satisfaction to every stakeholder,” he said.

“They offer many opportunities for small investors, and enable funds to multiply the savings of our workers in both public and private sectors. Transformation naturally entails immense development projects which consume colossal volumes of capital.”

Kenya’s retail investors have on several occasioned complained that they are losing out on lucrative returns at the Nairobi Securities Exchange due to lack of adequate investor education.

The 18th ASEA Conference will highlight relevant issues relating to African financial markets and global financial trends. This is an important opportunity for players in African Securities Markets to come together, debate and suggest solutions for the issues that characterize the African Securities Markets.

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