Archive for the 'Rwanda' Category

3 East African exchanges to link before year-end 2020

Market integration across 3 East African securities exchanges is moving fast with a target of being live and online by 31 December 2020. According to a news report, Uganda Securities Exchange, Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange and Rwanda Stock Exchange are set to start trading as a single market after connecting their trading systems to each other and hooking to the EAC Capital Markets Infrastructure (CMI) Information Technology platform.

The Pakistan-based InfoTech Group is been contracted to provide the software connecting the trading platforms of the U to enable them to run as a single market in real time. A news release from 2018 says ” InfoTech was selected to deploy its Capital Market suite, Capizar ATS, along with a Smart Order Routing system. This would achieve a single market for both central banks and capital markets and will stimulate intra-regional securities trade and investment.”

According to the report in East African “They can operate as a single market with a view of reducing the cost and time of trading in shares of companies listed on markets across the borders. Investors in the 3 countries will buy and sell shares of companies listed in any of the countries without going through different stockbrokers.”

 

World Bank project

The World Bank has committed $26.18 million for a 9-year Financial Sector Development and Regionalisation Project (EAC-FSRDP) 1. It supports financial sector integration among the East African Community (EAC) member States and was planned to as part of preparations for bringing in a single currency across the EAC, although the 2024 deadline for this is now being reviewed.

The World Bank project finishes on 31 December after the EAC Secretariat requested a 6-month extension for activities whose implementation was disrupted by Covid-19 pandemic. According to the World Bank website, $16m was the initial commitment, topped up with $10.5m in September 2016, and $24.7m has been disbursed as of September 2020.

The World Bank project has 6 components:

  1. Financial inclusion and strengthening of market participants ($4.3m)
  2. Harmonization of financial laws and regulations ($4.23m)
  3. Mutual recognition of supervisory agencies ($0.7m)
  4. Integration of market infrastructure ($3.75m)
  5. Development of regional bond market institution building ($12.1m)
  6. Project Management ($1.1m).

Missing Nairobi Securities Exchange

According to the report, the region’s biggest exchange, the Nairobi Securities Exchange, pulled out of the project in 2015 after expressing dissatisfaction on how the Pakistan firm was awarded the contracting citing procurement irregularities.

Geoffrey Odundo, chief executive of the NSE, was quoted: “We have not yet reconsidered our position in terms of our participation in this project but we have had a discussion with EASEA in terms of the progress of the project and how far they are. They mentioned to us that they have set the infrastructure and they are ready to go.

“They are supposed to share with us some information including the efficiency and the expected outcomes of the project for us to be able to make a proper assessment of the current status of the project before we can make any further decisions. But right now we have not made any decision to go back to the project.

According to the news report, the market capitalization of the NSE was $22.1 billion in June compared with $6.5bn on DSE, $5.1bn on USE and $3.5bn for RSE.

Ready in September

Celestin Rwabukumba, the chairman of The East Africa Securities Exchange Association (EASEA) and CEO of Rwanda Stock Exchange CEO is quoted by The EastAfrican reporter James Anyanzwa: “We are doing the final testing on our system for the CMI project. We are ready psychologically and technically we are working on those technicalities that are remaining. On the other hand Tanzania and Uganda are technically ready,”

“Everything should be ready by the end of this month and then we agree on the time of the launch because 95% of the work has been done. The launch cannot go beyond December because we cannot afford to go beyond that time.”

The report said the project has taken more than 5 years due to a payment dispute with the software provider and lack of integration between CMI software and the trading systems of the participating Uganda Securities Exchange, Dar Es Salaam Stock Exchange and Rwanda Stock Exchange.

AELP is different

The EAC market integration is separate from the African Exchanges Linkage Project, a joint initiative of the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The initial phase is promoting cross-border trading and liquidity in 7 stock markets with a combined market capitalisation of $1.0 trillion.

These exchanges are: Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM – Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo), Casablanca Stock Exchange (Morocco), The Egyptian Exchange (Egypt), Johannesburg Stock Exchange (South Africa), Nairobi Securities Exchange (Kenya), the Nigerian Stock Exchange (Nigeria) and Stock Exchange of Mauritius (Mauritius).

In March 2019, ASEA received a grant of $980,000 from the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) trust fund via AfDB to facilitate implementation of the project.

CIMERWA cement is Rwanda’s 10th listing

CIMERWA, the only integrated cement producer in Rwanda, is also helping build the capital market by providing the tenth listing on the Rwanda Stock Exchange. It listed by introduction on 3 August, without a public share offer, however, the shareholders of 49% of its 703.2m shares will make them available for buying by the public to form a “free float”.

The shares are offered at RWF120 (12.67 US cents) each, according to an article on Rwanda’s KT Press website, giving a total value (market capitalization) of RWF84.4bn ($87.3m). The shares offered for buyers and traders are owned by:

  • AGDF Corporate Trust on behalf of the Government of Rwanda (16% of the total)
  • Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB – 20%)
  • Rwanda Investment Group (RIG – 11%)
  • Sonarwa Holdings Ltd.

CIMERWA is also creating an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

CIMERWA is 51% owned by South Africa’s Pretoria Portland Cement. It has a production plant in Bugarama, in south-western Rwanda, with capacity to produce 600,000 tonnes per year but currently producing at up to 80% of capacity (480,000 tonnes). Prospects are good as Government of Rwanda steps up construction, including plans by the Ministry of Education to build 22,500 school classrooms by September, in a programme partly financed by the World Bank.

in the year to September 2019 it had revenues of $64.4m and net income of $3.5m, according to the prospectus. It has enjoyed revenue growth of 40% a year and has been profitable since 2016 with 31% EBITDA margin (a measure of cash generated by operations compared to turnover) and 64% gross profit growth.

Albert Sigei, CIMERWA CEO  since May, said: “We have been part and parcel of Rwanda’s growth story with contribution to the society on many fronts. This will be an opportunity for investors to gain exposure into the attractive cement industry with solid growth potential.”

CIMERWA was established in 1984 as Ciments dur Rwanda as a government parastatal in a cooperation project with China. It was privatized in 2007 with RSSB taking 37%, Government 30% and RIG 21% and other investors the rest. In April 2020 it became a private company and PPC International Holdings had 51%.

CIMERWA chairman Regis Rugemanshuro added: “This transaction will create opportunities for the private investors, and the government will become a neutral player in a sector whose potential is yet to be fully exploited. There could not be a better avenue of achieving this objective than listing at the RSE. With Rwanda having about 57kg per capita cement consumption annually, we have just but only scratched the surface on the huge long-term potential in the cement industry.”

Clare Akamanzi, chief executive of Rwanda Development Board, said: “If you look at Rwanda’s economic recovery plan, we expect CIMERWA to play a big role both in terms of building the economy through the indirect contribution but also directly contributing to the rebuilding and reconstruction of our economy post Covid-19.”

Demand for cement is estimated at 700,000 tonnes a year and there is considerable urbanisation as well as other big government projects such as Bugesera International Airport, model villages and transport projects. Although Rwanda’s economy is only expected to grow by 2% in 2020, due to the health pandemic, stronger growth of 6.3% is forecast for 2021 and 8% for 2022.

It is the fifth local company on the Rwanda bourse. South African health investor RH Bophelo was the ninth listing on 1 June.

However, trading in shares on the exchange for the first six months of 2020 was just under $400,000, down 85% compared to $2.6m in the six months to June 2019, according to an article in Rwanda’s New Times, particularly as trading slowed dramatically once the health crisis hit in March. Trading in bonds more than doubled, from $6.2m to $12.7m.

Egypt is Africa’s new #1 investment destination

The challenge for African economies is to adapt to commodity slowdown and sluggish production growth. Many countries have suffered stress in the past three years, and the latest report from a leading investment bank suggests the new winners – and who is lagging. Rand Merchant Bank’s (RMB) Where to Invest in Africa 2018 report shows changes in the top investment destinations in Africa.

South Africa is off the top spot, edged aside by Egypt, and Nigeria and Algeria have crashed out of the top 10. The theme is “money talks” and focuses on major sources of dollar revenues, important income-generators and investment opportunities.

But the report compares 191 global jurisdictions and measures African against country groupings. African countries are still at the lower end of the global-performance spectrum, which is still dominated by the US, UK, Australia and Germany.

In Africa, according to the RMB press release, there is a new pharaoh in town: “Egypt (#1) displaced South Africa (#2) largely because of its superior economic activity score and sluggish growth rates in South Africa, which have deteriorated markedly over the past seven years. South Africa also faces mounting concerns over issues of institutional strength and governance though in South Africa’s favour are its currency, equity and capital markets which are still a cut above the rest, with many other African nations facing liquidity constraints.

“Morocco (#3) retained its third position for a third consecutive year having benefitted from a greatly enhanced operating environment since the Arab Spring which began in 2010. Surprisingly, Ethiopia (#4), a country dogged by socio-political instability, displaced Ghana (#5) to take fourth spot mostly because of its rapid economic growth, having brushed past Kenya as the largest economy in East Africa. Ghana’s slide to fifth position was mostly due to perceptions of worsening corruption and weaker economic freedom.

“Kenya (#6) holds firm in the top 10 at number six. Despite being surpassed by Ethiopia, investors are still attracted by Kenya’s diverse economic structure, pro-market policies and brisk consumer spending growth. A host of business-friendly reforms aimed at rooting out corruption and steady economic growth helped Tanzania (#7) climb by two places to number seven. Rwanda (#8) re-entered the top 10 having spent two years on the periphery, helped by being one of the fastest reforming economies in the world, high real growth rates and its continuing attempt to diversify its economy.

“At number nine, Tunisia (#9) has made great strides in advancing political transition while an improved business climate has been achieved by structural reforms, greater security and social stability. Cote d’Ivoire (#10) slipped two places to take up the tenth position. Although its business environment scoring is still relatively low, its government has made significant strides in inviting investment into the country leading to a strong increase in foreign direct investment over the years resulting in one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

“For the first time, Nigeria (#13) does not feature in the top 10, with its short-term investment appeal having been eroded by recessionary conditions. Uganda is steadily closing in on the top 10 though market activity is likely to remain subdued after a tumultuous 2016 marred by election-related uncertainty, a debilitating drought and high commercial lending rates.

“Though Botswana, Mauritius and Namibia are widely rated as investment grade economies, they do not feature in the top 10 mostly because of the relatively small sizes of their markets – market size has been a key consideration in the report’s methodology.”

RMB Africa analysts spoke on economic trends:

Neville Mandimika: “The last three years have sounded an alarm, amplifying what is now a dire need for the economies of Africa to shift their focus from traditional sources of income to other viable alternatives.”

Celeste Fauconnier: “Over the past three years, some African governments have had to implement deep and painful budget cuts, announce multiple currency devaluations and adopt hawkish monetary policy stances – all as a result of a significant drop in traditional revenues.”

Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana: “Some countries have been more nimble and effective than others in managing shortfalls,” says and an author of the report. “But major policy dilemmas have ensued, forcing governments to balance economically prudent solutions with what is politically palatable.”

Where to Invest in Africa 2018 also includes 191 jurisdictions around the world, and measures Africa’s performance relative to other country groupings. The report is available via: www.rmb.co.za/globalmarkets/where-to-invest-in-africa-2018-edition.

IPO for I&M Bank Rwanda extended to 10 March


The extended deadline for the initial public offer (IPO) of I&M bank Rwanda is 10 March. The Government is selling its 19.8% stake in the bank in an offer launched on 14 Feb and originally set to close on 3 March. On offer are 99 million shares at RWF90 ($0.11) each, with a minimum purchase of 1,000 shares.
The offer could contribute nearly RWF8.9bn towards Government plans to raise RWF11.5bn ($13.9m) to build a second airport near Kigali, according to a report in KenyanWallStreet.com. As part of the offer, 5m new shares were created for an employee share offer programme (ESOP).

Prospectus delays
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning said it had received enthusiastic investor interest across the region. According to a statement: “This is to ensure that prospectuses and application forms reach investors across the country and the East African region in good time, and in response to requests from retail and institutional investors given the early start to the year, it has been decided to avail additional time to enable investors participate.”
New Times newspaper quotes Shehzad Noordally, the Chairman, Rwanda Association of Stockbrokers and Market Intermediaries: “There has been a slight delay in publishing prospectuses, which is an administrative issue that has been resolved. This has, therefore, resulted in the prospectuses not being distributed on time to the general public”.
I&M Bank, the Capital Market Authority, and the Rwanda Stock Exchange have approved the extension. The shares will be listed on the RSE.
The Government is committed to the development of capital markets as a means to building a strong foundation for long-term financing for both private and public sector, according to Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete.
Previously Government has sold shares in 2 enterprises leading to listings – Bralirwa (Brasseries et Limonaderies du Rwanda, the largest brewer and beverages company) and Bank of Kigali. The other local listing is Crystal Telecom, subsidiary of Crystal Ventures Ltd, which represents a chance to trade the shares of MTN Rwanda. Crystal Ventures was profiled in the latest issue of The Economist magazine.
I&M Bank Rwanda was established in 1963 and was called Banque Commerciale du Rwanda Limited (BCR) before becoming the Rwanda subsidiary of I&M Bank Group Limited, headquartered in Nairobi, with operations in four countries.

Reasons for privatization

According to an earlier CMA press release, this is the Government of Rwanda’s strategy behind the listings:
“It is the GoR’s objective to encourage investment of shares of successful companies amongst the citizens of Rwanda, and to promote the development of the country’s capital markets. The GoR is pursuing a divesture program of state-owned enterprises, which kicked off in earnest in 1997 with a total of 72 institutions earmarked for privatization/divesture.
The specific objectives of GoR’s privatization /divestiture program entail:
• Reducing the shares held by Government in public companies and thus alleviating the financial burden on its resources (through the elimination of subsidies and state investments) and reducing its administrative obligations in the enterprises
• Ensuring better management and financial discipline in privatized companies
• Attracting foreign investment in Rwanda and the accompanying transfer of technology and knowhow
• Developing and promoting Rwanda’s capital markets and
• To give to the wider public the opportunity to participate in the shareholding of a well-run company”.

Rwanda to host 20th African Securities Association conference on 27-29 November

The Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) and the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) will host the 20th Annual ASEA Conference in Kigali, Rwanda on 27-29 November. The ASEA annual conference is the flagship event for Africa’s capital markets and all those who work in them. This year’s theme is “The road to 2030: Making the African capital markets relevant to the real economy”.
Celestin Rwabukumba, RSE CEO, explained: “The conference will bring together more than 300 global and regional experts and stakeholders in capital markets, regulators, law firms and issuers, domestic, regional and international investors, rating agencies, portfolio and investment managers, government representatives, and technology providers to ask questions and address the big question of how African securities exchanges should become more effective and play a bigger role in mobilizing capital for African businesses that will drive our economies on the global economic stage.” He added it offers an opportunity for the East Africa Community (EAC) region to demonstrate how much can be achieved through integration of regional securities markets – the EAC is leading the way with an exciting capital markets integration programme as part of stronger regional economic links.
The gathering will also celebrate the RSE’s 5th birthday, it was formed in 2011. “It’s been an exciting 5 years for us. We have grown on all fronts and are increasing our numbers every year in terms of market participation, companies coming on board and technology. This will definitely be a good occasion,” Rwabukumba added.
There will also be scope for tourism and other enjoyment after the conference.

Kigali under Vision 2020 (photo: www.TopBoxDesign.com)

Kigali under Vision 2020 (photo: www.TopBoxDesign.com)

Rwanda Stock Exchange expects 3 share offers (IPOs)

Rwanda Stock Exchange

Rwanda Stock Exchange, credit New Times.

Rwanda Stock Exchange, credit New Times.


The Rwanda Stock Exchange is expecting 3 initial public offers IPOs of shares in the coming months, which will bring the total number of equities listed for trading to 10. No details were disclosed, but the East African newspaper reports the 3 are among the most profitable in their sectors. Pierre Celestin Rwabukumba, bourse CEO, told Bloomberg: “We expect three initial public offerings this year. Due to disclosure restrictions I cannot tell you which ones.”
The East African’s Kabona Esiara wrote: “They are a bank where a principal investor is liquidating interests in order to venture into other businesses and a transport company that is seeking to fund acquisition of a modern fleet. A third company involved in logistics is looking for expansion capital. The latter two are classified as small and medium enterprises (SMEs).” The IPOs are said to be at an advanced stage, with the prospectuses going through Capital Markets Authority checks before roadshows in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda begin.”
Davis Gatharaa, managing director at Baraka Capital was reported saying: “2016 should witness increased market capitalisation, liquidity and turnover largely driven by new listings. We believe the Rwanda Stock Exchange offers a bargain hunting ground for foreign investors helped by a very strong dollar.”
IPOs on the RSE previously were Crystal Telecom (owns 20% of MTN Rwandacell) in July 2015, Bank of Kigali in 2014 and beverages firm (brewer) Bralirwa in 2011, launching the equity market. I&M Bank had issued a corporate bond in 2008. RSE statistics showed RWF34 billion ($45.5 million) in trading from January to November 2015. Market capitalization was RWF2.82 trillion ($3.75bn).
The market saw declines with the Rwanda Share Index down 21% but the All Share Index was down 3.9%. and the paper reports that analysts do not expect strong performance this year. Robert Mathu, CEO of the Capital Market Authority regulator, was reported saying: “Weak global commodity prices weakened the economic outlook for most of sub-Saharan Africa. Coupled with the currency bleeding that was experienced by most of these African countries, this led investors to adopt a wait-and-see approach on African stockmarket prices.”
When the bourse was launched the Capital Market Advisory Council said in 2011 that government planned to offer shares in 6 companies on the domestic exchange, including Commercial Bank of Rwanda, now known as I&M Bank Rwanda, and Sonarwa Insurance. The New Times newspaper reported in April 2015 the government is planning an initial public offering of its 19.8% stake in the Rwandan unit of Nairobi-based I&M Holdings Ltd.
In a report on AFKInsider Rwakumba said the bourse is targeting new retail investors: “ We are focusing a lot on the demand side with specific attention on retail investors. We are increasingly getting more and more new investors; in 2015 we had a surge of new investors of 19.2%. We are to keep building on this momentum to entice new investment so that we don’t face challenges in supply and demand sides.”

Rwanda Stock Exchange closer to Nasdaq X-stream automated trading

Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) says it is getting closer to introducing an Automated Trading System using trading technology from Nasdaq OMX. It will also link its trading infrastructure to the Central Securities Depository (CSD) and Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) at the National Bank of Rwanda.

In March 2014, there was a report in The East African that the RSE was aiming to use the Nasdaq X-stream system installed at the East African Exchange (EAX) regional commodity market. The latest news from the East African Securities Exchanges Association EASEA press communiqué (available here) from the 24th meeting in Rwanda on 26-27 November was: “The RSE is in the final stages of automation of its trading system”.

Nasdaq describes X-stream as “a flexible, out-of-the-box solution trading multiple asset classes simultaneously on a single platform” on its website. It says X-stream is “the world’s most widely deployed matching technology” among market operators and is deployed in over 30 exchanges globally.

According to the March story in The East African: “John Rwangombwa, the governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, told Rwanda Today that though electronic trading had been delayed due to the heavy financial outlay required, RSE and EAX are now in advanced stages of sharing the NASDAQ system. .. We have been working on our side as a central bank to link the central securities depository. In the course of this year —in three or four months — automatic trading will be up and running.”

The report added: “While trade volumes on the RSE have been steadily increasing, its current manual trading platform makes it uncompetitive in particular among offshore investors.”

The RSE also reported that the bond market is becoming more “vibrant”, with quarterly issues by the Government of Rwanda. This was after work by a team made up of Capital Market Authority (CMA), Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE), Central Bank of Rwanda and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

East African Exchange
The EAX was launched on 3 July 2014 by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya. It had been established by Tony O. Elumelu, CON, of Heirs Holdings, Nicolas Berggruen of Berggruen Holdings, Dr. Jendayi Frazer of 50 Ventures and Rwandan investment company Ngali Holdings. Acccording to a press release: “the EAX is a commodity exchange that aims to increase regional market efficiency and give the growing population, particularly smallholder farmers, better access to commercial markets.

“EAX will use NASDAQ’s OMX X-Stream trading platform for electronic trading and warehouse receipts so farmers can deposit their produce into EAX certified warehouses and access its services.

“At the formal launch, Mr. Elumelu said: ‘The EAX showcases our desire to identify far reaching investment opportunities, while ensuring that most of the value-adding aspects of Africa’s resource wealth stay on our continent. Africa must move toward greater self-sufficiency with private investment and strategic partnerships, just as we have done at EAX through our partnership with NASDAQ.’

“Nicolas Berggruen said: ‘EAX is complementing the EAC’s goal of regional economic integration, and putting in place a world-class exchange to create a globally competitive market for Africa’s commodities.’ EAX’s goal is to facilitate trade across all five East African Community member states. EAX is wholly owned by Africa Exchange Holdings, Ltd. (AFEX). EAX in Rwanda is additionally owned by local investment company Ngali Holdings.”

According to an earlier story on AFEX and its plans in Nigeria, Jendayi Frazer was key in U.S.-Africa policy for nearly 10 years and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2005-2009). Nicholas Berggruen has a charitable trust which funds the investment arm to take “a long-term, patient capital value-oriented approach”.

A story written in New York Times in March 2014 described “A commodity exchange, with its dozen terminals and state-of-the-art software provided by Nasdaq, held its first six auctions over the past year — a fledgling venture, but the kind that helps explain how a nation with no oil, natural gas or other major natural resources has managed to grow at such a rapid clip in recent years.

Rwanda Stock Exchange trading boards (2013 - credit The East African/umuseke.rw).

Rwanda Stock Exchange trading boards (2013 – credit The East African/umuseke.rw).

For 2104 photos of the Rwanda Stock Exchange and the East African Exchange see the New York Times website here.

East African securities exchange integration – what’s on in 2015

Securities exchanges in East Africa are working together on the infrastructure for tighter cooperation and links between the capital markets of Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and potentially Burundi. The body for cooperation is the East African Securities Exchanges Association (EASEA). The key integration driver is the Technical Working Group (TWG), which has a member from each State. It was established by the East African Community (EAC) to review the best infrastructure and legal framework to facilitate seamless cross-border movement of capital.

Training and qualifications
Also important is the Securities Industry Training Institute (SITI) East Africa, which is improving skills and technical capacity to international standards and creating regional qualifications to enable skilled candidates to work across the region. For 2015 SITI East Africa aims to help more market players and regulators have SITI certification and examinations and is driving training to meet the growing demand for expertise. SITI was set up in 2009 to establish a common curriculum. See this post about the launch of SITI.

Infrastructure
A regional inter-depository transfer mechanism is in place to support movement of cross-listed securities and provide possibilities for investors seeking cross-border trading and investment opportunities. It is part of a capital market infrastructure project progressing under the EAC Financial Sector Development Regional Project (FSDRP I). Each country is leading publicity and workshops to raise awareness and boost cross-border trading.

Backbone – new directives
The TWG is developing Council Directives “which will be the backbone of the proposed integration of the regional capital markets”, according to the communiqué (“EASEA Press Release”) of the last EASEA meeting. The directives under public discussion are:
1. Council Directive of the EAC on Central Securities Depository
2. Council Directive of the EAC on Securities Exchanges
3. Council Directive of the EAC on Self-Regulatory Organizations
4. Council Directive of the EAC on Conduct of Business for Market Intermediaries
5. Council Directive of the EAC on Corporate Governance for Listing Companies.

The TWG has also drafted and completed directives on
1. Council Directive of the EAC on Investor Compensation Schemes
2. Council Directive of the EAC on Financial Education and Consumer Protection
3. Council Directive of the EAC on Disaster Recovery for Capital Market Infrastructure
4. Council Directive of the EAC on Regulated Activities
5. Council Directive of the EAC on Credit-Rating Agencies
6. Council Directive of the EAC on Regulatory Authorities
7. Council Directive of the EAC on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Financial Terrorism

The last meeting of EASEA was 26-27 November and Tanzania did not attend. The next is due in Uganda in the Q2 of 2015. EASEA is a member of the Capital Markets Development Committee (CMDC) of the East African Community (EAC) – a committee of the East African Community Secretariat, according to the Uganda Securities Exchange website. The CMDC objectives include

  • Establish cross-listing of stocks, a rating system of listed companies and an index of trading performance to facilitate the negotiation and sale of shares within and external to the Community
  • Ensure unimpeded flow of capital within the Community by facilitating the removal of controls on the transfer of capital among the Partner States
  • Prevent money-laundering activities through the capital markets
  • Ensure that the citizens of and persons resident in a Partner State are allowed to acquire stocks, shares and other securities or to invest in enterprises in the other Partner States

Encourage cross-border trade in financial instruments.

Rwanda to fund airport and power with $1bn Eurobond in 2015

Rwanda plans to return to Eurobond markets in 2015 and raise up to $1 billion for infrastructure, including an airport and power plants. As global interest rates stay low, sub-Saharan African countries have raised $6.4bn through debt issues in 2014, compared to $9.7bn in all 2013, according to Bloomberg news agency last week, citing figures from Standard Bank Group Ltd. “the continent’s biggest lender”.
Rwanda plans to upgrade the main international airport outside Kigali, to build a 150-megawatt geothermal power plant and to fund a methane-fired power project to produce up to 100 MW by extracting methane gas from under Lake Kivu.
Bloomberg reported last week that President Paul Kagame said in an interview the country felt investor demand was still strong, after its first $400 million bond in April 2013 was more than 8x oversubscribed: “We might go for double that or more, up to $1 bn.”
“People who want to see Africa develop come to Rwanda particularly because we have set up a very good environment that makes things work for us and for our partners who come invest with us.” Economic growth has averaged 7% annually over the last 5 years and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts growth of 7.5% in each of 2014 and 2015, according to Bloomberg.
The agency says that Rwanda’s non-concessional borrowing limit, set by the IMF, is $250m for the 2014-15 fiscal year. It quotes Samir Gadio, head of Africa strategy at Standard Chartered Plc , saying the IMF has raised the ceiling when African countries could turn to offshore markets at cheap interest rates: “But the other consideration is that external debt sustainability should not be jeopardized… Given the size of the economy, a $1bn Eurobond would represent around 13% of GDP, which is significant.”
The interview came on 5 Aug in Washington DC when US President Barack Obama highlighted $33bn in commitments to Africa, including $14bn in investments from companies such as General Electric Co. President Kagame said: “It’s a very significant step in the relationship between Africa and the U.S… If things are done right, the relationship, the partnership between the United States and Africa, has the potential to bypass that relationship between Africa and Europe. Also the relationship between Africa and China.”

Kigali under Vision 2020 (photo: www.TopBoxDesign.com)

Kigali under Vision 2020 (photo: www.TopBoxDesign.com)

The Africa Report food for thought on the “great game” in East Africa

“East Africa is the most promising regional bloc. [It] has registered between 5 and 6% growth annually for the past decade. We estimate that regional gross domestic product will expand 18-fold by the middle of the century, from $185bn in 2010 to $3.5trn by 2050. This era is comparable to the period immediately after independence.” This is an intriguing article just published by The Africa Report, quoting Gabriel Negatu, regional director of the African Development Bank.
The article, by Parselelo Kantai in Nairobi and Juba, additional reporting by Patrick Smith in Addis Ababa, talks of the four leaders that dominate the East African “chessboard”. Here are a few sample quotes: “At international gatherings such as the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, the four gravitate towards each other: Ethiopia’s Hailemariam Desalegn, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni.
“Differing in age and political experience, they argue about many details but there is a critical point of consensus. If East Africa is to grasp the economic opportunities now available, there must be a determined effort to integrate its markets and economies, even if that means making concessions and compromises in the short term.
“All four run interventionist foreign policies – Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda sent troops into Somalia, while Rwandan and Ugandan troops have been both invited to and expelled from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“They all favour a statist hand on the economic tiller, but they are all building up business classes on whose political loyalty they can rely. All have supported Kenyatta in his attempts to avoid prosecution at the International Criminal Court.
“Economic growth and breaking away from dependence on Western markets are common imperatives. None of them enthuse about democracy, particularly in its Western, liberal variants.”
The article also gives insights on Uganda’s $8bn oil infrastructure deal of 5 February that will help reshape the region and its economies and 2 giant railway projects due for completion by 2020. It highlights the need for jobs and services to keep up with growth, and China’s giant role in reshaping the region.
It highlights regional diplomatic tensions too. The writers also point to joint pressure on Tanzania, sometimes seen as the laggard in the regionalization project, and give insightful perspective on the lessons from the South Sudan crisis, as well as letting key South Sudanese voices be heard. They write:
“For governments tempted to ignore the new underclass, South Sudan serves as a cautionary tale. An abiding weakness of governments in East Africa is their ethnocentrism: their tendency to favour crassly their ethnic support bases in the allocation of public sector jobs, appointments, commercial opportunities and government tenders.
“South Sudan’s crisis may have been exacerbated by its weak institutions, but the best illustration of this was the government’s failure to rein in cronyism, corruption and ethnic rivalries in the state sector.
“In South Sudan, these weaknesses caused a war. In other countries in the region, they produce bad elections and policy-making, and hold back burgeoning economies.”
The article speaks of the determination not to be proxies for foreign powers in any conflict and says the South Sudan crisis could give an opportunity to rebuild a state more suited to local realities.
For more, we recommend that you read the article in full here.