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Business News of Friday, 17 January 2014

Source: B&FT

West Africa stock markets to harmonise rules by March

Integration of capital markets within the West African sub-region is firming up, following a commitment by members to adopt the harmonisation rules by March 31 and grant sponsored access to brokers within the participating countries.

A harmonisation of listing, trading and settlement rules among member-countries is seen as crucial to the integration efforts of the sub-region.

Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres (BVRM) -- which features eight Francophone countries -- are the main participating markets.

Speaking on the progress of the integration effort during the Ghana Stock Exchange’s market performance review for 2013, the Managing Director of the GSE Mr. Kofi Yamoah said: “the technical committees met, adopted various proposals and referred them to the council of the integration committee -- the West African Capital Markets Integration Council”.

The council is made up of the heads of all the exchanges and regulators in the participating markets.

“We have gone quite very far. By the first quarter of 2014, we are going to see the implementation of all the work that we have done. Two things are going to happen: we are going to harmonise our listing rules and also the contents of prospectuses across West Africa,” said Ekow Afedzie, the GSE’s Deputy Managing Director.

“We have passed resolutions at the council level to adopt these harmonised rules come end of March 2014,” he added.

The first phase of the integration effort will see the granting of sponsored access to brokers in the participating countries that will allow them to trade directly into the systems of any exchange within the group in a formalised manner without any intervention.

The Ghana Stock Exchange continued its impressive performance in 2013 -- returning 79 percent on average to investors who traded a total of 313 million shares, up from the 218 million traded in 2012. The value traded amounted to GH¢465million.

Total market capitalisation for last year was GH¢61billion, with domestic market capitalisation accounting for GH¢12billion.

The best performing stocks included PZ Cussons Limited, Enterprise Group Limited, Cal Bank Limited, Mechanical Lloyd Co. Limited, and Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited.

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