Archive for the 'Human resources' Category

London Stock Exchange appoints David Schwimmer as CEO

David Schwimmer, CEO of the London Stock Exchange from 1 August.

The London Stock Exchange has appointed 49-year-old David Schwimmer as its new CEO, starting on 1 August. He has been working for investment bank Goldman Sachs for the last 20 years. The news was released in an LSE press release on 13 April.

He replaces Xavier Rolet, who left the LSE in November as part of a governance crisis sparked by 5% shareholder TCI Fund Management. Since then David Warren has run LSE as interim chief executive and he will return to his job as LSE’s chief financial officer.
Schwimmer, based in New York, is the head of Goldman Sachs’ market structure business and metals and mining businesses.

Schwimmer’s career at Goldman Sachs includes: advising exchanges and stockbrokers, working as chief of staff to chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, when he was the bank’s chief operating officer, jointly running the bank’s business in Russia (2006-2009) and then becoming head of metals and mining in 2011. He returned to advising exchanges in 2017 as he added the role of the head of market structure.

According to the LSE Chairman, Donald Brydon, in the press release: “David is a leader with great experience in the financial market infrastructure sector, which he has been closely involved in throughout his investment banking career, as well as capital markets experience in both developed and emerging markets. He is well known for his robust intellect and partnership approach with clients and colleagues alike.”

A key task will be to manage the Brexit transition, and defend the LSE’s position as the world’s biggest clearing house for derivative transactions against competition from European exchanges, particularly Germany’s Deutsche Börse. LSE controls London Clearing House (LCH), which processes about three-quarters of the €1 trillion-a-day ($1.2trn) clearing market for derivatives, acting as a middleman between buyers and sellers of complex contracts.

He has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions and will be able to buy new companies in line with LSE strategy. According to the Financial Times Rolet had turned the LSE into a “£15bn ($21bn) European powerhouse via a string of deals”. A merger with Deutsche Börse AG failed in 2017 and there has been speculation that US group Intercontinental Exchange could bid for LSE, although ICE says that one issue is the UK’s future outside Brexit. Chicago Mercantile Exchange has also been described as a potential bidder.

It quotes Bill Brodsky, former chief executive of Cboe Global Markets: “He’s a very articulate, very intelligent, very engaging personality… David has a deep global markets background and is extremely knowledgeable about the industry. He is eminently qualified to lead London Stock Exchange Group.”

The LSE says Schwimmer will be paid £775,000 ($1.1m) plus a bonus opportunity of up to 225% and will receive £1.05m ($1.5m) to make up for not getting his 2018 bonus from the US investment bank, plus other incentives. He is a graduate in English from Yale and with a JD degree from Harvard Law School. His passions are baseball (Mets) and outdoors, according to Bloomberg.

London Stock Exchange – blue blood in the City after shoot out

“Quentin Tarantino couldn’t have written it better. After weeks of everyone at the London Stock Exchange pointing guns at each other, Reservoir Dogs-style, on Wednesday they all pulled the trigger.

“The final scene: Xavier Rolet takes one to the head, Donald Brydon reels from a gutshot, hedge funder Sir Chris Hohn makes a break for it, only to meet a hail of bullets offstage.

“A gory, unedifying, end to a film that, though being great box office, leaves all the cast bloodied.

“Rolet looks truculent in the extreme. Despite his “what, me?” statement today condemning the “unwelcome publicity” around his departure, it’s hard to believe he couldn’t have stopped all this weeks ago by having a quiet word with Hohn — through intermediaries if the gagging order on him prevented direct contact.

“Clearly, and understandably, he was miffed about getting the boot. But by letting the row run for so long, he has self-immolated a successful next career in City chairmanships. Who would hire him now? The manner of his ending will overshadow his extraordinary achievements turning the LSE around.”

This is columnist Jim Armitage in yesterday’s Evening Standard in London.

“This whole film would be fun were it not for the fact that the LSE is weakened just as it needs to be at its strongest.

“The Stock Exchange is about as essential to the City’s future financial dominance as you can get, and with Brexit coming, it has rarely been so challenged by EU rivals.

“The only character to emerge with reputation enhanced, is Mark Carney. Back in the day, the Governor of the Bank of England could order companies into line with a raise of the eyebrow. Carney lifted his beetle brow yesterday, declaring himself “mystified” by the whole affair. Within 24 hours, the squabble was over.”

The announcement from the London Stock Exchange Group came yesterday. Xavier Rolet said in the statement: “Since the announcement of my future departure on 19 October, ‎there has been a great deal of unwelcome publicity, which has not been helpful to the Company. At the request of the Board, I have agreed to step down as CEO with immediate effect. I will not be returning to the office of CEO or director under any circumstances. I am proud of what we have achieved during the past eight and a half years.”

CFO David Warren took over on £700,000 salary as interim, after 5 years at LSE and previously 9 years as CFO at NASDAQ. The Chairman of the Board, Donald Brydon, announced he would not seek a new term at the London Stock Exchange Group AGM in 2019.

Brydon paid tribute to “Xavier’s immense – indeed transformative – contribution to the business.” According to one newspaper report in City AM, over 9 years: “Rolet is widely acknowledged to have driven the LSE from a declining, if venerable, City stalwart to a major player on the international scene through acquisitions”,

The Financial Times has a great article on the drama including charts of LSE mergers and acquisitions in the top rank of world stock exchanges since 2005, and changes in the LSE share price compared to that of other exchanges.

The row started on 19 October when it was announced that the Board was looking for a successor for Rolet to leave by the end of December 2018 . That follows Rolet saying he would leave if a $13.8bn merger with Deutche Börse did not succeed – it was blocked by regulators – but then saying he would stay indefinitely. Activist shareholder Sir Chris Hohn of the Children’s Investment Fund (TCI) called for a shareholder meeting to discuss the dismissal in view of Rolet’s excellent track record.

Commentators did not dispute the track record, where Rolet transformed the institution which is at the heart of the City of London’s standing. On 4 Nov, columnist Anthony Hilton wrote this insightful defence of corporate governance and the foolhardiness of overruling the authority of the Board. “The chief executive is accountable to the board, and the board has a duty to tell him or her when it is time to go. What makes it so tough is that the problem invariably lies not with poor-quality bosses, who are relatively easy to show the door; the challenge is reining in those who have done well, those who have shown the vision and skill to move the business to a new and altogether higher level and who have in the process built a significant fan club. But it needs to be done. A major reason why good companies fail is that boards fail to exercise proper control over a successful leader who evolves into an over-mighty chief executive, and are then powerless when he overreaches himself. The danger is hubris.”

According to the FT the row is not yet over. It says the share price of LSE is down 2% since the October announcement, while that of Deutsche Börse is up more than 12%. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing is the other big winner, up nearly 8&, followed by CME (over 6%). The LSE share price has had a great run under Rolet.

Rolet is on “gardening leave” for the next 12 months on his £800,000 salary, although he tweeted yesterday morning “I doubt if my wife would tolerate me meddling with her vineyard although I do sample the product every now and then”. According to the news his total payout including annual bonus, deferred bonuses and long-term incentives could be up to £13m.

On 28 Nov, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, said he was “mystified by the debate” but called for “clarity… as soon as possible”. According to City AM newspaper he said: “I can’t envision a circumstance where the CEO [chief executive] stays on beyond the agreed period.”

The Bank, which regulates the London Stock Exchange as owner of LCH (clearing house) had been informed of the LSE’s plans to appoint a new head before Rolet publicly announced his retirement in October, and has been kept updated on progress, Carney said.

Carney hailed Rolet’s “extraordinary contribution” to the LSE.

More hires at leading Africa and frontier investment bank Exotix Capital

A leading emerging and frontier markets investment bank, Exotix Capital, continues to add senior hires in key African markets. Exotix has offices in London, New York, Dubai, Lagos and Nairobi and is a licensed stockbroker on both the Nigerian and Nairobi stock exchanges – and in July rated #1 with 24% market share in Nairobi. The hires, which take immediate effect, add to the strengthening of the team in recent months and new appointments across business lines and geographies to harness growing investor interest in the world’s highest-growth economies.

The past year has seen significant growth for Exotix across Africa’s equity capital markets both in clients and market share. In Kenya, Exotix has been steadily increasing month-on-month this year. In June the firm launched a Research, Analytics and Data division, by Paul Domjan, the former Chief Executive of Roubini Global Economics and Founder of Country Insights.

It has also been expanding its investment-banking reach in Africa, with particular focus on the energy, financial and consumer sectors. On 3 October, Exotix was one of the three deal managers, alongside JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, for the tender offer by Guaranty Trust Bank on its $400 million 2018 Eurobond.

The new appointments are
Serge Marston, currently Head of EMEA sales at NEX Markets, Serge Marston from NEX Markets as Non-Executive Director on Exotix’s Executive Management Board
Chiamaka Ezenwa, formerly at Morgan Stanley in London and FBN Capital in Lagos, as the new Head of Investment Banking West Africa
Mbithe Muema, previously with African Alliance Kenya, is appointed as Head of Equity Sales in Nairobi

CEO Duncan Wales says in a press release: “We are excited to have Serge, Chiamaka and Mbithe on board to help us take full advantage of the opportunity presented by our unique place in the world’s most exciting economies. Serge brings unparalleled expertise from his experience at the cutting edge of financial innovation.”

Marston is Head of EMEA sales at NEX Markets, a division within NEX Group that provides electronic trading technology services in the fixed income and foreign exchange markets. As Non-Executive Director he will work closely with CEO Duncan Wales and Chairman Mark Richards. Prior to joining NEX, he spent 19 years at Deutsche Bank in a variety of roles, most recently as Co-Head of Fixed Income, Currencies & Commodities, and e-Commerce Sales in the Global Markets division. NEX Group is a key shareholder of Exotix.

Ezenwa will be working with Andrew Moorfield (Natural Resources) and Fabrizio Ferrero (Financial Institutions), co-heads of Investment Banking at Exotix, and Esili Eigbe, Head of Equities, Africa, based in Lagos, to expand business in West Africa. She had previously spent 6 years at Morgan Stanley in London with primary focus on equity capital markets for Sub-Saharan Africa, the UK and Northern Europe, and the past 4 years in Lagos at FBN Capital, the investment-banking subsidiary of FBNH, Nigeria’s largest bank by total assets, most recently as Head of Equity Sales. She has originated and executed a variety of transactions across jurisdictions for international and Nigerian corporations.

According to Ferrero: “Chiamaka’s appointment enhances our investment bank offering in West Africa and overall in Sub-Saharan Africa through her extensive experience and relationships in the local markets. I am confident she will be a valuable addition to our team and further expand Exotix Capital’s investment banking footprint in the region.”

Muema was previously Head of Institutional Sales at African Alliance Kenya, where she was largely responsible for building the company’s local client base in the Nairobi office. She will lead Equity Sales further boosting Exotix’s position. She had previously worked at Renaissance Capital and Equity Bank as a research analyst and is currently on the board of the Konza Technopolis Development Authority in Kenya in a non-executive role, where she steers the business development committee. She will work closely with Eigbe and Debbie Rees, Global Head of Equity Sales.

Eigbe commented: “Mbithe has the necessary experience of markets in the region to support our commitment to expand Exotix’s business in Kenya and the wider region.”

Earlier in October Exotix appointed Matthew Pearson, former Head of Equities at ICBC Standard Bank, as Global Head of Equities, joining the firm’s Executive Committee, and Christopher Dielmann, formerly Research Analyst in the International Monetary Fund’s Strategy, Policy & Review Department, as Senior Economist with responsibility for markets including Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam.

Other new additions to the team include Rafael Elias, formerly Head of Emerging Markets Research and Strategy for Fixed Income at Cantor Fitzgerald, returning to Exotix to continue his core focus on Latin America as Corporate Credit Analyst, and Rex Nowell, who has successfully directed independent research sales and account management teams in the Americas, Europe and Asia for the past 20 years, most recently for Roubini Global Economics, joining Exotix in New York as Managing Director for New Client Development.

Exotix has also been expanding financials research with the hire of three new analysts last month inlcuding Temitope Ode, previously an analyst at Sankore Global Investments and before that at Goldman Sachs, joining Exotix’s Lagos office to cover financial companies. Faith Mwangi, formerly Senior Research Analyst at Genghis Capital, covering banking and media, and prior to that Investment Analyst at Standard Investment Bank, covers financials in East Africa after joining in August.

Exotix Capital says it “provides the most comprehensive and integrated cross-asset platform to penetrate the full capital structure in frontier and emerging markets.” Its analysts cover over 160 companies, more than any other frontier-markets firm, in emerging Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas. It is specialist in equity and fixed-income markets and the Exotix advisory team provides the full range of investment-banking services to companies, financial institutions, investment funds and governments. These include strategic advisory assignments from debt capital to private equity fund raising.

Serge Marston, Chiamaka Ezenwa and Mbithe Muema

Woes of Zimbabwe Stock Exchange

($ refers to USD)

The value of shares traded on the recently demutualized Zimbabwe Stock Exchange fell by 22.2% in the first quarter of 2015, compared to the same quarter last year. A story from The Herald newspaper said that turnover to 31 March was $70 million, down from $90 million in the first quarter of 2014. However, the volume of shares traded was up to 586 million from last year’s 306 million for the period.
Trading in January was $16m (down from $63m in 2014), in February $35m ($26m) and in March $19m ($27m). The share bought by foreigners was down to $41m ($64m) over the quarter.

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange liquidity to 30 April (source ZSE website)

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange liquidity to 30 April (source ZSE website)

Meanwhile the exchange seems to be hit by a series of controversies and several companies have delisted, or removed their shares from trading.
The exchange in March was reported in the Herald newspaper that “go-live” date would be 19 June for its new automated trading system, Capizar ATS trading software from Infotech Middle East FZ, part of Infotech Group of Pakistan. This was in terms of a contract signed in March 2014, as reported here last September. However there has been little news of progress and the project missed previous deadlines, including for February.
There has also been criticism of the ZSE’s relocation to Ballantyne Park, a suburb 8.5km from the central business district effective 1 April before the automated trading system was ready. The new office has a smaller trading area. The Herald newspaper reported that parliamentarians and lobby groups had protested and Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance David Chapfika said that relocating the exchange to Ballantyne Park will mean that small players will be excluded. ZSE interim chairperson Mrs Eve Gadzikwa said the move was necessary because of high rentals.

SECZ investigates ZSE CEO
In February the Herald newspaper reported that the Securities and Exchanges Commission of Zimbabwe (SECZ) was investigating ZSE CEO Alban Chirume after complaints over the suspension of Meikles (see below). He is said to have acted unprocedurally when he suspended Meikles and then unprofessionally when the decision was reversed. There were also complaints after he placed a notice in a newspaper urging investors to exercise caution when dealing with the shares.
If SECZ finds against him, he could be suspended or fired, according to the Herald report. Past CEO Emmanuel Munyukwi, who had been in post for many years, was suspended after an SECZ investigation and subsequently left the ZSE “on mutual agreement”.
According to the Herald: “Away from the Meikles issue, Mr Chirume has faced criticism over the purchase of a residential building in Ballantyne Park, the overshooting of the budget in the purchase of a vehicle and the numerous instances he has undermined the ZSE board and stockbrokers.”
An amendment in 2013 to Zimbabwe’s Securities Act gives the SECZ the power to dissolve the board of a registered securities exchange or dismiss one or more of its members, but only on certain grounds, and subject to appeal. If it dissolves a whole board it can appoint someone to run the exchange but only until a new board is elected in accordance with the articles of association, which should be within 3 months.

Paint and chemical products manufacturer, Astra Industries, was the latest to leave at the close of business on 30 April after majority shareholders Kansai Plascon Africa (listed in Tokyo) and Hermistar investment vehicle for Astra management and staff increased their combined holding to 80.2%, breaching the rule of 30% free float, and applied to the ZSE to leave. Regional manufacturer ART Corporation may follow after buying out minorities.
Other recent delistings include TA Holdings and ABC Holdings in February. According to an article in Financial Gazette, 16 companies have delisted since 2007 when the hard currency (USD) economy was adopted – 8 of these chose to delist, and 8 were insolvent. Such is the turmoil in the Zimbabwe economy that many other companies are probably insolvent but it has not been announced yet as local manufacturers with high hard-currency costs and ancient machines cannot compete with imported goods. Meanwhile, another 4 companies are suspended: PG Industries, Cottco (formerly AICO Holdings), Phoenix and Celsy.
The article warns that more delistings are due this year, including Meikles (see below), Dawn Properties, African Sun. It says that companies do not see the benefit in being listed (see bottom of article). They cannot raise money successfully on the bourse due to the liquidity squeeze and shares being listed at a small fraction of their true value, unless money comes from foreign investors, who usually prefer to buy out minorities and delist. The peak had been over 80 listings.
The only new listing was in 2010 when Innscor Africa’s unbundled Padenga Securities and listed it through dividend in specie. The ZSE did particularly better than most parts of the economy during the years of hyperinflation as desperate investors turned to properties, equities or foreign currencies. It slowed dramatically after allowing trading in foreign currencies.
Creating a second-tier exchange for small companies is unlikely to have an overall positive effect on liquidity or the market.

Meikles row
A leading hotel group, Meikles Limited, is suing the ZSE for $50m in damages and is also warning that it may not remain listed. According to a Reuters report in March, Meikles filed papers on 26 February at the High Court, after its shares were suspended from trading for a week in February and then allowed again from 23 February. Meikles said its share price had fallen and its reputation suffered and it is seeking compensation for “potentially irreparable” consequences of its suspension. The ZSE also issued a warning that people should use caution when trading the shares.
Meikles also operates retail including supermarket chain TM Supermarkets (South Africa’s Pick’n’Pay has 49%), Tanganda Tea, the Victoria Falls Hotel and has a stake in Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town.

New governance?

Meanwhile ZSE governance could change dramatically after the demutualization was completed recently, as reported last week. Some market participants were said to be surprised when stockbrokers ended up with a 68% majority of the company, after Government took 32%. There had been some suggestions of ownership wrangles.
This could mean that stockbrokers can hold a General Meeting and replace directors or otherwise take action on how the company is managed.

Why the stockmarket does not help business
(quoted from Financial Gazette)
Horticultural concern, Interfresh, which delisted on the last day of trading in 2013, highlighted the problems with being listed.
Chief executive officer, Lishon Chipango, said: “At the moment for us there is not too much (gains from listing). If you look at the contextual framework of the stock market, one of the benefits of being listed is to raise capital, but if you raise capital when the shares are so depressed, you are not going to raise that much. So the issue of benefiting if listed maybe down the road. (I) would not be surprised if others followed (us by delisting).
“The other aspect is there is no money in Zimbabwe. All the capital being raised is external. For us, it is not attractive,” Chipango said.
He then mourned over the discounted rate at which the company’s shares were trading.
“The rights issue to raise the US three million dollars (in 2012) caused a dilution of 75 percent because we used stock market valuations. Now if at that time we had raised money using Net Asset Value instead of stock market valuation, the dilution would have been 15 percent. You see why we are running away from the stock market? We are running away from the stock market valuation,” said Chipango.


“Jeff” Otieno Odundo new head for Nairobi Securities Exchange

Geoffrey “Jeff” Otieno Odundo will be the Chief Executive of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), effective from 1 March 2015. The announcement was made yesterday (8 Jan) by the NSE Board of Directors.

Mr. Odundo is an accomplished investment banker with 22 years of experience in the financial sector experience including 16 years in the capital markets in various senior roles in asset management, corporate finance and stock broking, according to a press statement.

Geoffrey Otieno Odundo (credit Salaton Njau, Nation Media Group)

Geoffrey Otieno Odundo (credit Salaton Njau, Nation Media Group)

Leadership skills
Mr. Odundo has been Managing Director and CEO of Kingdom Securities Limited from June 2009. According to the statement: “During his tenure at Kingdom Securities Limited he has overseen the growth of the firm to become one of the leading trading participants of the NSE and has been instrumental in key listings on the NSE as well as other corporate finance transactions.”

According to a report in Business Daily NSE chairman Eddy Njoroge said the investment banker was appointed after a thorough vetting process: “The board together with KPMG considered numerous applications from various applicants of the highest standards”. He said Mr. Odundo’s leadership skills, experience and wealth of knowledge would be instrumental in driving the NSE’s strategic plan.

Capital FM quoted Mr Odundo as saying: “I am very confident that the future of the NSE as a key driver of Kenya’s economy is very bright as we deepen the current products and diversify into new product offering.”

He takes over from Peter Mwangi who left in November after serving two 3-year terms as CEO and became CEO of Old Mutual Kenya. Mr Njoroge also thanked Andrew Wachira, the Head of Compliance and Legal, who has been the Acting Chief Executive for the transition.

Leading stockbroker
Odundo has served as a Non-Executive Director of the NSE representing Trading Participants from March 2012. During this time, he has been the Chairman of the NSE Technology Committee and has also been a member of the NSE Finance and Manpower Committee and the NSE Listings and Admissions Committee.

Before moving to Kingdom Securities he was instrumental in setting up Co-op trust Investment Services and Co-op Consultancy Services Limited. Other roles include as a Director and Secretary of the Kenya Association of Stockbrokers and Investment Banks (KASIB), “a role in which he was instrumental in improving the service delivery and standards on the operations of Capital Markets intermediaries.” According to the statement.

Qualifications include a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Mathematics and Economics from Egerton University in Kenya (main campus Njoro near Nakuru) and a Masters in Strategic Management from the United States International University (Nairobi). He is married with 3 children and enjoys soccer, golf and Formula One. He is also a dedicated member of the St. Paul’s University Chapel Lectors Group and founder of Ame Foundation to support the less fortunate.

Free masterclass in funding sources for capital markets development (9-10 April)


African capital markets could raise more donor finance and other resources to drive development projects. There are substantial technical, financial and other resources available to spur market growth, driven by the key role that African securities exchanges, private equity and other institutions can play in driving economic growth, creating jobs and channelling investment, but exchanges, governments and regulators have not been as successful in applying compared to other emerging markets.
Developing projects and raising finance is the subject for a FREE masterclass in “Funding Sources for Capital Markets Development”. This will be held on 9 April (2pm-5pm)-10 April (9am-1pm, approx) in the Museum of American Finance in New York City.
The masterclass is organized by ISEEE (International Stock Exchange Executives Emeriti, Inc. ( and is highly recommended to African and other emerging markets securities exchanges executives, regulators such as Securities and Exchanges Commissions, and policy-makers. All stakeholders can apply.
The agenda includes overview of potential financing sources; specifics of donors and international financial institutions interested; defining project objectives and beneficiaries; case studies of exchange, securities commission and clearing house projects; and workshops in drafting funding applications.
The masterclass is presented by capital markets development expert Hannes Takacs of CAPMEX ( and Dr Drasko Veselinovic, founder of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange ( Drasko is a professor with a doctorate in financial economics with extensive experience in buiding and running securities exchanges and banking, as well as in privatization, non-executive board directorships and capital markets development.
I have had the pleasure of working with Hannes on several capital markets strategy projects, including in Dar es Salaam and Baku, and I can highly recommend his deep knowledge and experience, combined with a pragmatic approach. He has very extensive experience of working on securities exchanges and capital markets development projects all over the world, including Russia, China, SE Asia, and he is on the board of several stock exchanges in central Europe and does many training and other sessions.
He has a very good knowledge of securities markets developments. He pointed out that very few of the donor-funded securities market development projects are happening in Africa, despite this being a priority for many donors, compared to other regions.
According to Hannes: “The participants in this free-of-charge interactive master class will learn how to design development projects for capital market development, exchanges, clearing houses and supervisory authorities, which are eligible for funding by international finance institutions, multilateral development banks and donor agencies.”
Hannes is also ready to answer any individual questions, email him on For more information and the brochure and application form, apply here as early as possible. Participants have to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses.

“Dear Kwame..” an email from 2063 by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission


What will Africa look like in 2063? The Confederation of African States will have been established in 2051, with integration driven by the African youth. Inter-African trade could grow to nearly 50% by 2045 (from 12% in 2013) and business be dominated by Pan-African commercial giants in finance, mining, food and beverages, tourism, pharmaceuticals, fisheries and ICT.

This vision is outlined by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, in an “an email from the future”, written to a fictional Kwame. She shared it on Sun 26 Jan, during the ministerial retreat of the AU Executive Committee in Ethiopia’s Bahir Dar. The attached gives a few extracts, and the full email gives some food for thought and is attached.

“Date: 24 January 2063
Subject: African Unity

My dear friend Kwame,

Greetings to the family and friends, and good health and best wishes for 2063.

I write to you from the beautiful Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar.. as we finalize preparations for the centenary celebrations of the Organisation of African Unity.. Yes, who would have thought that the dream of Kwame Nkrumah and his generations, when they called in 1963 on Africans to unite or perish, would one day become a reality? And what a grand reality.

At the beginning of the 21st century, we used to get irritated with foreigners when they treated Africa as one country…! But, the advancing global trend towards regional blocs, reminded us that integration and unity is the only way for Africa to leverage its competitive advantage.

In fact, if Africa was one country in 2006, we would have been the tenth largest economy in the world! However, instead of acting as one, with virtually every resource in the world (land, oceans, minerals, energy) and over 1 billion people, we acted as 55 small and fragmented individual countries. The bigger countries that should have been the locomotives of African integration failed to play their role at that time, and that is part of the reasons it took us so long. We did not realize our power, but instead relied on donors, that we euphemistically called “partners”.

That was the case in 2013, but reality finally dawned and we had long debates about the form that our unity should take: confederation, a united states, a federation or a union. As you can see, my friend, those debates are over and the Confederation of African States is now 12 years old, launched in 2051.

What was interesting was the role played by successive generations of African youth… We were a youthful continent at the start of the 21st century, but as our youth bulge grew, young men and women became even more active, creative, impatient and assertive, often telling us oldies that they are the future, and that they (together with women) form the largest part of the electorates in all our countries!

Of course this was but one of the drivers towards unity. The accelerated implementation of the Abuja Treaty and the creation of the African Economic Community by 2034 saw economic integration moved to unexpected levels.

Economic integration, coupled with infrastructure development, saw intra-Africa trade mushrooming, from less than 12% in 2013 to approaching 50% by 2045… Even more significant than this, was the growth of regional manufacturing hubs, around the beneficiation of our minerals and natural resources, such as in the Eastern Congo, north-eastern Angola and Zambia’s copper belt and at major Silicon valleys in Kigali, Alexandria, Brazzaville, Maseru, Lagos and Mombasa, to mention but a few such hubs.

My friend, Africa has indeed transformed herself from an exporter of raw materials with a declining manufacturing sector in 2013, to become a major food exporter, a global manufacturing hub, a knowledge centre, beneficiating our natural resources and agricultural products as drivers to industrialization.

Pan African companies, from mining to finance, food and beverages, hospitality and tourism, pharmaceuticals, fashion, fisheries and ICT are driving integration, and are amongst the global leaders in their sectors.

We are now the third largest economy in the world… we did this by finding the balance between market forces and strong and accountable developmental states and regional economic communities to drive infrastructure, the provision of social services, industrialization and economic integration.

We refused to bear the brunt of climate change and aggressively moved to promote the Green economy and to claim the Blue economy as ours. We lit up Africa, the formerly dark continent, using hydro, solar, wind, geo-thermal energy, in addition to fossil fuels.

If I have to single out one issue that made peace happened, it was our commitment to invest in our people, especially the empowerment of young people and women. By 2013 we said Africa needed a skills revolution and that we must change our education systems to produce young people that are innovative and entrepreneurial and with strong Pan African values.

From early childhood education, to primary, secondary, technical, vocational and higher education – we experienced a true renaissance, through the investments we made, as governments and the private sector in education and in technology, science, research and innovation.

… the African Express Rail now connects all the capitals of our former states.. it is not only a high speed-train, with adjacent highways, but also contains pipelines for gas, oil and water, as well as ICT broadband cables: African ownership, integrated planning and execution at its best!

The continental rail and road network that now crisscross Africa, along with our vibrant airlines, our spectacular landscapes and seductive sunsets, the cultural vibes of our cities, make tourism one of our largest economic sectors.

…KiSwahili is now a major African working language, and a global language taught at most faculties across the world. Our grand-children still find it very funny how we used to struggle at AU meetings with English, French and Portuguese interpretations, how we used to fight the English version not in line with the French or Arabic. Now we have a lingua franca, and multi-lingualism is the order of the day.

How things have changed. The Confederation last year celebrated 20 years since we took our seat as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and we are a major force for global stability, peace, human rights, progress, tolerance and justice.

Till we meet again, Nkosazana.”

The email was published by the AU’s Directorate of Information and Communication,

It is part of the Agenda2063 visioning exercise which has its own website – there is even a form “Have Your Say” where you can add your own visions for the future – go on, have your say!

au40126_PR- 11- AUC Chairperson E-Mail From the Futur –

High-flying Diana is new Standard Chartered CEO for Africa

Standard Chartered Bank ( has appointed Diana Layfield as Regional Chief Executive Officer, Africa, with effect from 22 June 2011. The bank has operated in Africa for over 147 years and has over 160 branches in 14 African countries and over 6,000 staff. Diana succeeds Mike Hart, who becomes Vice Chairman for operations in Africa.
V. Shankar, CEO, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Americas, said in a press release: “This is a hugely exciting time for our fast growing business in Africa. Diana and Mike will ensure we are well placed to take advantage of the many opportunities we see, including from deepening economic and trade relationships with Asia.”
Diana is currently Group Head of Strategy and Corporate Development – acquisitions, alliances, mergers and disposals – since 2009 across the bank’s global operations, and has previously held senior management roles since she joined the bank in 2004 as Chief Operating Officer for Wholesale Banking and as Group Head, Global Corporates.
Before that she was CEO of Finexia Ltd, a technology company providing outsourced services and software for the commercial finance industry (2000-2004), worked for McKinsey & Co (1995-2000), and piloted relief planes for the International Committee of the Red Cross / UN in Africa (1998-99). She was educated at the University of Oxford and Harvard University
Mike has led Standard Chartered’s franchise in Africa since 2006, delivering record results while growing our business, and has also been an active proponent of the Bank’s community programmes across Africa. He has been with the bank for 23 years and is stepping down from executive responsibilities.

East Africa securities training for thousands

The International Finance Corporation (, a member of the World Bank Group (, and East Africa’s Securities Industry Training Institute (SITI), based at the Uganda Securities Exchange ( have signed an agreement to broaden training. This will boost opportunities for market participants, regulators and others in East Africa’s capital markets sector, with the aim of strengthening and supporting the growth of securities markets in the region.
SITI will be licensed to use IFC-developed securities markets training material for the next 10 years to train and certify thousands of securities market participants in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. The material is developed by the Efficient Securities Markets Institutional Development (ESMID) Programme, a joint project by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (, which provided $5.5 million, the IFC and the World Bank.
IFC Principal Investment Officer Aida Kimemia said in a press release: “Supporting the development of securities markets is a priority for IFC in Africa. This agreement will make available world-class training materials to thousands of people in East Africa, improving their skills and knowledge and giving them the tools that will support broad economic growth in the region.”
Joseph S. Kitamirike, Chairman SITI board and CEO, Uganda Securities Exchange, said: “We at SITI are very pleased to have cooperated with IFC to develop the training materials. We know that they are cutting edge and will help us develop the personnel we need to grow the securities markets in East Africa. On the strength of this successful cooperation with IFC, we are confident we will undertake more activities of this nature that will ensure proper market development.”
The ESMID programme aims to help develop well-functioning securities markets in Africa, with a goal of supporting key economic and social development needs with high developmental impact, such as infrastructure, housing, and microfinance. Despite efforts over the last 12 months this blog has been unable to contact the East Africa office directly to find out more, as the officers do not seem to reply to emails or phone messages.
Its funded programmes are to help simplify regulations and procedures for issuing and trading bonds; strengthen market infrastructure; build capacity of market participants; facilitate the regionalization of securities markets; and support demonstration transactions. In East Africa, it reportedly works with central banks, securities regulators, stock exchanges, and market participants, such as brokers, dealers, investment banks, and institutional investors. It also works in Nigeria, according to the website.
The ESMID-developed training material consists of 3 courses and 5 seminars: Fundamentals Securities Course; Securities Certification Course; Officers and Directors Course; Bond Trading Seminar; Corporate Finance Seminar; Corporate Governance Seminar; Bond Underwriting Seminar; and Portfolio Management Seminar.
The courses, which will be required for licensing of market intermediaries, have already benefitted more than 700 course participants in East Africa.
The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. It says “our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010.”

More career opportunities in Africa’s capital markets

Many financial institutions are gearing up their staffing as they start to roll out their African operations. These include banks, stockbrokers and others. African Capital Markets News interviewed Frank Behrendt, of recruiter Clement May (, on the trends and the opportunities.
ACMN: Do you think Africa is a growing opportunity?
FB: I had spent 3 years in Singapore recruiting bankers for Asia. Upon my return to the UK I realised that Africa is on the move, and decided to get involved. That was March 2010. At Clement May we have built a good network of bankers – on the continent and in the hubs of London, New York, Johannesburg and Hong Kong (and Moscow) – who are focussing on Africa.
There is a great need for real talent in the African banking sector, and although there are some recruitment firms that focus on Africa, it is a very underdeveloped market in terms of quality recruitment firms (as always, the recruitment sector follows the banking sector in that regard). It has therefore been relatively straightforward to establish ourselves as an African specialist.
ACMN: What are the changing trends in African investing?
FB: Up until last year, the active players in the secondary markets of Sub-Saharan Africa were mainly boutiques. That has changed. More and more international “bulge bracket” banks are eyeing up Africa and including it in their growth strategies. Already counting some of these banks as our clients in Europe and Asia, this puts us in a strong position to address their growth plans and further extend our reach into Africa.
ACMN: Is a lot of new market infrastructure being built? Are new fields of activity opening up?
FB: Stock exchanges on the African continent are improving their services through collaboration with the big international exchanges and improved technology. Local banks are commanding a bigger portion of the volume going through the system and it seems this development is on the rise. As international bulge bracket interest in Africa is on the rise, the share in market volume that these banks can win is dwindling due to the rise of local players.
Global banks are taking a very active interest across disciplines. While the primary markets have gained in strength over the last number of years, the real evidence of increased activity is in the secondary markets. Liquidity has improved immensely over the last year or so and trading in African equities has also increased significantly, both on the ground in Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world.
ACMN: What do you see of Hedge Funds/institutional investors?
FB: More and more Hedge Funds focus on SSA. More international Asset Managers increase the portion of funds invested in SSA. More local fund houses are opening up. The appetite for SSA equities is growing exponentially as a result.
ACMN: Is there a marked increase in the number of jobs available?
FB: Definitely, yes! As the international bulge bracket banks are expanding their businesses, jobs are available on the ground and in the hubs (i.e. Johannesburg, London, Hong Kong and New York). This in turn is spurring greater hiring activity by local firms as well, and so on. Jobs in secondary markets are growing more than primary markets headcounts.
ACMN: What sort of jobs are available?
FB: Private equity jobs are and have through the last 5 years been the most abundant. M&A and corporate finance jobs have been pretty constant over the last few years, but a new surge is ongoing. In secondary markets, research teams are being built both on the ground across SSA and also in the hubs (as above). Sales and execution teams are in the pipeline. I anticipate there being a surge in Sales, Sales Trading and Trading hires in mid-2011. Most of these jobs will be based in London, Johannesburg and New York servicing the international institutional client base. But there are also many headcount needed for positions on the ground in SSA. Of these, most are in Nigeria, then Kenya.
ACMN: Is it hard to find the right people for the jobs?
FB: Not too hard. There is a huge community of very well-educated Africans around the world. Whereas, only a couple of years ago, very few of them would consider a return to their home country, these days, more and more are actively seeking to return, in order to contribute to society with their education and experience. This is obviously connected to the increased activity in the banking sector, and the remuneration packages now available.
ACMN: Are the jobs mostly being filled by Africans?
FB: The banks are mostly looking for natives of the country in which the hiring is taking place. Only for very senior positions will foreign candidates be considered. This does not stem from immigration policy only (although that can also be a consideration as visas become harder to obtain), but also from a desire to have fully culturally assimilated staff in place. Needless to say, jobs in the hubs of London, New York and others focussing on SSA are being filled by candidates from across the spectrum and regardless of nationality. I have seen quite a few bankers on Asian desks in London shift their focus to Africa.
ACMN: What skills/experience do job applicants require?
FB: Some sort of degree, preferably from an international university. MBAs are even more desirable (and a lot of professionals are taking this to heart). At least 3 years’ work experience with an international bank. As banking in Africa is still relatively vanilla and functions often overlap, specific skill sets are not as important as the desire to return home and contribute. I have seen examples of people hired for equity research, although their entire work history was in M&A etc.