The African Union (AU) has been asked to make it obligatory for all member-countries to establish stock exchanges to help create wealth for their nationals and deepen the growth of the continent.

Professor Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, former Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange who made this proposal, said: “I will appeal to the AU to make it a mandatory policy to ensure that every African country establishes a stock exchange. This will help create wealth, increase employment and grow local businesses.

“We want every African country to establish a stock exchange to help alleviate poverty and create wealth for the people. The stock exchange creates wealth for a larger pool of citizens.”

Prof. Okereke-Onyiuke in an interview with the Business and Financial Times in Accra emphasised: “Stock exchanges hold the future for Africa’s economic growth and development.

“There are a lot of wealthy businessmen in Africa, but their companies are not listed on the stock exchange to determine their actual wealth.”
She revealed that there is a plan to make West Africa the regional stock exchange hub in Africa to assist in financing future infrastructural projects.

“The future is bright,” she said, adding that “We want to make West Africa the financial hub to finance African projects.”
She said ECOWAS has the potential to stimulate economic growth on the continent and open larger markets to investors and businesses in Africa and from afar.

“An ECOWAS common market also means increased access to capital via cross-listing of companies in stock markets of ECOWAS.
“A mining company in Guinea, for instance, might be limited as to the amount of capital it can raise from the stock market due to inadequate liquidity.”   

She added: “Cross-listing of companies across stock markets will allow it to access funds from stock markets in other countries within the region, as well as enable individuals to participate in growth opportunities.

“The ECOWAS common market will boost liquidity in stock markets across the region through the creation of regional stock exchanges with access to savings and investments from people in multiple countries — instead of just one country.

She suggested that African leaders and governments must encourage entrepreneurs and private-sector operators to list their businesses on the stock exchange to help grow firms and create wealth.                                                       

By Ekow Essabra-Mensah

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