The African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) will hold its 15th annual meeting from December 11-13, 2011 at the Palmeraie Golf Palace in Marrakech. The conference will focus on the investment opportunities offered by the African continent. More than 400 participants from 100 countries are expected to attend, with a significant number coming from China, the United States and the Middle East.
Background to the annual meeting
The annual ASEA meeting will be hosted for the first time in Morocco by The Casablanca Stock Exchange. It will play a crucial role given the nature of the issues presented in the agenda. Numerous discussions will take place with the aim of finding solutions to keep the African Stock markets strong in light of the current international economic situation. The European debt crisis and the downgrading of credit rating of the United States, among other issues, have had a direct and serious impact on the actions of the leading international financial centers, causing strains on liquidity and lowering the volume of transactions.
For this reason, this year’s conference should prove to be particularly important, as can be noted by the presence of several personalities from the world of finance and the support of many important national and international sponsors and institutions, including Invest AD, Auerbach & Grayson Company, Nasdaq OMX, Millenium IT, Thomson Reuters, CFG Group, Groupe Attijariwafa, etc.
In addition, listed and unlisted African companies operating in different sectors of energy, food and agriculture, mining, finance, and telecommunications, will be as well present at various scheduled meetings and workshops.
The conference’s objectives
Over the course of the three-day event, financial experts and heads of major international institutions will participate in workshops and seminars to debate and suggest solutions for the issues that characterize the African Stock Markets.
The ASEA has fixed numerous objectives for its 15th annual meeting, which exists primarily to demonstrate to the investors’ community the high potential of emerging African Economies. Equally, the ASEA conference hopes to provide an exchange platform of concrete solutions in which Stock Exchanges could play a key role in developing and financing African enterprises so they could adapt to the continuing changes in global finance.
Furthermore, the event aims to innovate and break new ground in terms of material incentives to create financial leverages for African businesses; ultimately, to attract foreign investors, increase Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”) and promote and disseminate financial education throughout the African continent.
Characteristics of African stock exchanges
African Stock Exchanges present a number of notable characteristics, such as a large disparity in terms of regulations, exchange-rate policies and taxation, and an absence of operational financial synergy within the continent itself.
It is worth noting that of the 22 Stock Exchanges within the African continent, only 4 (Johannesburg, The Egyptian Stock Exchange, the Casablanca Stock Exchange and the Stock Exchange of Mauritius) are part of the Word Federation of Exchanges (WFE), which is made up of 52 members, representing 90% of Global Market Capitalisation.
About the ASEA
The ASEA is an association created in Nairobi on November 13th, 1993. Its principle mission is to promote cooperation between its different members and facilitate exchanges, as well as to assist joint programmes between members. The ASEA also works with other regional authorities, such as The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and aims to promote the role of the association in implementing economic development strategies through publications and organised events to address the issues related to investments in Africa.
About the Casablanca Stock Exchange
The Casablanca Stock Exchange is a joint stock limited company managed by a board of directors and a general manager. Its capital is divided equally among 17 share holding companies that trade on the Moroccan market. The Casablanca Stock Exchange is a major player in the Moroccan economy; accounting for 75 listed companies. In 2010, the percentage of the stock exchange’s capital linked to Morocco’s GDP reached 74.12%. As a reminder, since 2004, 33 companies joined the Casablanca Stock Exchange, of which 13 were able to increase their capital through public investments thereby raising 14.85 billion dirhams; another 16.24 billion dirhams was raised through bonds.