, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 24 – Deputy President William Ruto has challenged African countries to develop their capital markets to enable them provide alternative sources of finance for long-term productive investments.
Speaking during the official opening of the 18th African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Kwale County, Ruto said that development of stock markets will diffuse stresses on the banking system by raising long-term project based capital.
He said that citizens need to be sensitised to appreciate the wider role of exchanges apart from providing dividends to investors.
“We need to get more of our people to appreciate the importance of stock exchanges in the development of our economy. We should let capital drive our politics that’s why as government, we have encouraged the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to get more companies listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) to access cheaper capital for development,” he said.
The Deputy President noted stock exchanges have strong socio-economic benefits citing development of infrastructure via long dated bonds and asset.
Ruto said that African continent has been identified as the fastest growing with over five percent annual economic growth rate and with 10 of her countries posting the highest returns on investment.
“The savings and investment ratios of most countries is well below 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), we should encourage broader ownership of productive assets by small savers to enable them benefit from economic growth and wealth distribution,’’ he said.
He also said the development of regional markets will expand intra-Africa trade that stands at a paltry 12 percent way below that of other continents.
“As policy makers in this region, we are discussing the possibility of a political federation in the five East African Community States,’’ he said adding “we are also committed to getting the five trading blocks in the region that commands a market of over 1.3 trillion dollars to drive this dream of Africa on the rise.”
On his part, Rwanda Finance Minister John Rwangoma said African capital markets should position themselves as engines of growth in managing risk on agricultural, mineral, interest rates and currency prices.
“Attracting Foreign Direct Investment is sometimes very difficult that is why we in Rwanda are developing our financial sector along our vision 2020 especially the capital market to mobilize resources for development,’’ he said.