Local stock market set to boom

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By Business Reporter

THE local stock market is yet to record an impressive turnaround in foreign investor appetite in stocks even if there has been stability in the market since the beginning of 2010, Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) chief executive officer Beatrice Nkanza has said.

And the LuSE will host this year’s African Stock Exchanges Association (ASEA) annual conference, to take place from November 10 to 12 in Livingstone.

Ms Nkanza said in Lusaka yesterday that though stock prices on the market had not been spectacular, LuSE was witnessing some relative appetite by foreign investors now that the global financial markets have stabilised.

There was a heavy flight of foreign investors owing to the effects of the global financial crisis, as the investors withdrew from stocks either to go and invest in offshore markets or played a ‘wait and see’ game.

At a media breakfast meeting to update the media on the forthcoming ASEA conference, Ms Nkanza said from the fourth quarter of 2009, the trend was in reverse.

But the situation had since stabilised and some foreign investors had started coming back to invest on the market.

“Although we are yet to see a clear positive trend, the foreign investors are coming back.

The trend is that there is some stability, but we are not yet seeing definite upward movements in foreign direct investments,” she said.

Sometimes prices on the market had not been spectacular and that LuSE had not broken into the mood of the pre-crisis period.

Ms Nkanza said LuSE was still waiting for the legislation to be amended to allow for the accommodation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The organisation has been working at introducing a tier for SMEs, but the chief executive officer said the current act did not provide for LuSE to interact with SMEs.

And LuSE would be hosting the 2010 ASEA conference scheduled for November 10 to 12 in Livingstone, which would bring together 19 country stock exchanges on the continent.

The conference, under the theme; “Integration of African Capital Markets Through Technology,” would address issues such as information technology solutions and the role of technology in African capital markets, valuation and research on African markets, and management in the continent’s emerging markets.

Other issues to be looked at include fund management perspectives, bond market development strategies, opportunities and challenges of regional integration, cross- border securities settlement, and private equity versus public-private partnerships.

Ms Nkanza said LuSE has been preparing for the 14th conference, which it would be staging for the second time after it successfully hosted the fifth edition in 1998.

Among panelists and speakers would be World Bank Zambia country manager Kapil Kapoor, Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Caleb Fundanga, Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) chief executive officer Russell Loubster, and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya.

Ms Nkanza said the African stock exchanges were working hard to integrate through technological advancements to link themselves so that brokers and other players would be able to access cross information on the markets.

She said to avoid being swallowed by the bigger stock exchanges like the JSE, the smaller exchanges have been pushing for integration under the model of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which was not centralised.

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