Participation in the African Securities Exchanges Association will enable SWIFT to deliver concrete value to the African Securities Community
Johannesburg, 15 April 2015 – The African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) has granted SWIFT observer membership to the organisation. SWIFT aims to support securities market participants across Africa in their efforts to develop market infrastructures – based on international best practices and standards.
Ian Bessarabia, Head of Business Development, Sub-Sahara Africa, SWIFT, says: “SWIFT is delighted to build a closer relationship with ASEA and the respective community. We firmly believe that it will be positive for the securities community as we can play a significant role in supporting the development of Africa’s securities markets. ASEA observer status will unlock opportunities for greater cooperation and community engagement with some of the most vibrant exchanges on the continent and many key regional bodies across Africa.”
ASEA members include 23 African securities exchanges as well as investors from the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The association, which recently elected Oscar Onyema, CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange as its president, provides a platform to discuss the evolving role of the capital markets in driving Africa’s growth potential. There are four key areas where SWIFT can assist ASEA members, namely:
1. Financial market infrastructure development that is based on international best practices
2. Ensuring operational efficiency and automation through the adoption of global standards
3. Global best practice around the impact of regulations
4. Regional integration and interoperability of African securities markets.
SWIFT data has revealed a significant increase in securities-related SWIFT traffic in Africa with growth on the continent outpacing growth rates in the rest of the world. However, the bulk of the traffic is related to foreign investors’ transactions from offshore accounts into local custodian banks and does not reflect a growth of African investment into African markets.
Hugo Smit, Head of Sub-Sahara Africa, SWIFT, says: “It is largely foreign investors, not African investors, who are benefiting from the continent’s growth story and there is great potential for intra-African investment which is not being realised. Financial market infrastructure will play a crucial role in unlocking cross-border African investment – and this is somewhere that SWIFT can deliver excellent value for the community. Through our observer membership, we are hoping to engage with Africa’s growing securities communities and use our industry insight to help exchanges, central securities depositories, brokers, custodians and investors to identify opportunities and to cut costs, reduce risk and increase market access.”