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Capital market operators consider regional integration of Stock Exchanges

Operators are to converge on Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, for sensitization ahead of the planned integration.

Operators of Securities and Exchange Commissions, Stock Exchanges and other stakeholders in the capital markets in the member states of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, are considering a roadmap for the implementation of the three-phased West African Capital Markets integration.

The integration process would be implemented within the framework of the ECOWAS-led regional market integration process.

To prepare for the take-off of the process, stakeholders would converge on Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire next week, for the sensitization workshop scheduled for March 31 to April 1, 2014.

The workshop, which would be the third in the series approved by the West African Capital Market Integration Council, WACMIC as platforms to engage with stakeholders, would create sufficient awareness and mobilise support and ownership of the process by market operators and the investing community in the region.

The first and second workshops were held in Ghana and Nigeria in January and February 2013 respectively by WACMIC, a body of markets regulator, which was inaugurated by the ECOWAS Commission in January 2013.

The Council, which is one of the pillars for the creation of the West African Common Investment Market, ECIM, seeks to help entrench a harmonized regulatory environment for the issuance and trading of long-term financial securities across the region.

It would also help to develop a common platform for cross-border quotation, listing and trading of such securities in the regional market.

The Abidjan workshop, co-organized by the ECOWAS Commission and WACMIC, would coincide with the WACMIC quarterly meeting, which would precede the take-off of the first phase of the markets integration roadmap.

The roadmap would enable sponsored stock-brokers of other Member States of the regional organization to trade on the existing stock exchanges using the platform of the sponsoring broker.

Participants at the meetings would include Directors General of Securities and Exchanges Commission, Managing Directors and Chief Executive officers of Stock Exchanges, Stock brokers, Issuing Houses, Registrars, Fund Managers, Legislators and other stakeholders in the capital markets of ECOWAS Member States.

The Sensitization and WACMIC meetings would be followed by a three-day meeting of Private Sector Stakeholders on the draft ECOWAS Investment Code and Policy also in the Ivorian capital.

The meetings would enable the stakeholders to discuss and agree on the content of the Code and Policy and also provide an avenue for the private sector to be sensitized on the provisions of the draft Code and Policy so as to harness their views and court their support for the adoption of the instruments.

The adoption of a regional investment Code and Policy would remove obstacles to doing business and provide efficient and effective regulatory framework to promote healthy competition and growth of the private sector in the region.

The integration process was approved during the 44th ordinary session of the authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS held on March 28 and 2014 in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire.

The communique at the end of the meeting reiterated the need to record a more vigorous economic growth to sustain employment and to facilitate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs.

It said that to sustain the good economic prospects in the region, ECOWAS Member States must pursue efforts towards establishing sound and stable macroeconomic frameworks to consolidate the Common Market agenda on the ECOWAS Common External Tariff, CET.

It welcomed the measures already taken towards strengthening the industrial strategy, the harmonization of trade policies, and putting in place a fiscal transition program, and the full implementation of the Trade Liberalization Scheme, TLS by all Members States.

On Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA, meeting reaffirmed strong commitment to the regional integration agenda and welcomed the participatory, consensual and constructive approach that prevailed in the West African region, paving the way for the finalization of the negotiations with the European Union on the EPA.

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