African Development Bank Group launches second phase of West African Capital Markets Integration Project

The African Development Bank on Tuesday launched the second phase of the West African Capital Markets Integration (WACMI) Project to establish a common securities listing and trading platform across West African bourses.

In December 2020, WACMI received a grant of $850,000 from the Capital Markets Development Trust Fund (CMDTF), a multi-donor fund administered by the African Development Bank and supported by Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Phase 2 of the integration project, financed by the grant, entails harmonization of regulations in participating capital markets as well as building capacity of market regulators and operators to handle cross-border investments.

Mr. Ahmed Attout, Manager of the African Development Bank’s Capital Markets Development Division said, “the WACMI project, conceived to scale regional capital markets activities, broaden participation and promote the integration of West African capital markets to address the region’s capital market challenges, including low market liquidity, limited infrastructure and fragmentation, is aligned with the African Development Bank’s High-5 strategic priorities, especially Industrialize Africa and Integrate Africa.”  

Representatives of participating governments, the African Development Bank, CMDTF and regional bodies attended the virtual launch, including Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance, Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa; the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, Professor Kelfala Kallon; the Director General of the West African Monetary Institute, (WAMI), Dr. Olorunsola Olowofeso; and the Managing Director of Ghana Stock Exchange, Ekow Afedzie.

“We are delighted for the partnership with the African Development Bank to support financial systems development in the WACMI, particularly in the area of technical assistance and institutional capacity building. It is our desire to see further deepening in financial integration and cross border operations in the zone,” said Olowofeso.

Georges Heinen, Senior Government Counsellor of Luxembourg and Adriaan van Velthoven, Policy Advisor to the Government of the Netherlands, were also present.

The West African region’s capital markets are fragmented and lack depth and liquidity –­ all challenges the project is intended to address.  Expected beneficiary countries are Ghana, Nigeria, the Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cabo Verde, as well as the eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union: Benin, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.     

WAMI will implement the project in collaboration with participating countries through the West African Capital Markets Integration Council (WACMIC) – comprising the authorities of the region’s stock exchanges – and the West Africa Securities Regulators Association.

Source: African Development Bank (Published on 24 March, 2021)

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