Billionaire investor calls for one regional stock exchange

Dr Chris Kirubi speaks during the Capital Markets Awards on Friday. Photo by F. Kasirye

KAMPALA- Kenyan billionaire investor, Dr. Chris Kirubi, has expressed disappointment over the disintegration of the stock exchanges in East Africa.

Speaking at the 12th Kikonyogo Capital Markets Awards (CMA) on Friday night in Kampala, he called for a single stock exchange for all the listed companies within the region.
“To the Capital Markets Authority, I will not come again to speak at an event if you do not integrate the stock exchanges in East Africa,” Mr Kirubi said.
He put to task the CMA to negotiate with the regional regulators on how to integrate the regional exchanges.

Kenya’s Nairobi Stock Exchange remains the most capitalised market and the most active. The Uganda Securities Exchange (USE), Dar-es-Salaam Securities Exchange (DSE) and Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) have much more subdued market activity.

Mr Kirubi pointed out that opportunities, market options, and activity would be boosted if the stock exchanges were one block. He did, however, emphasise that for this to happen, the economies in the region have to be harmonised into a monetary union where a single currency should be used in all countries.

Mr Kirubi has made money from holding stakes in listed companies such as Centum and UAP. For the latter, he sold his entire 9.8 per cent stake at the start of the year and walked away with Kshs2.8b (Shs88b).

He also noted that Ugandans need to look beyond handouts if the country is to develop.

“This country cannot be developed by borrowed money. It can’t be developed by outsiders. Ugandans have to play a major role in developing their economy by saving and investing more. You can also not look at the government for everything,” Mr Kirubi added.
On the night, SBG Securities, part of the Standard Bank Group were the biggest winners, taking home Market Leader in Secondary Market Activity and Market Leader awards for having the most active institutional investors.

Other winners were African Alliance and Crested Capital. The awards were for the contribution of these stock brokers to market activity on the USE during 2014. In 2014, at least Shs174b worth of shares were traded down from Shs198b in 2013.

Currently, the USE has eight locally listed companies and about 40,000, figures the CMA insists are below par.

Mr Matia Kasaija, the finance minister also noted that the CMA needed to “speak more loudly” to attract more investors, especially Ugandans to either buy shares or list their companies.

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