The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) went shopping on Thursday, making a case to over 130 companies brought together at the GICC to list on the exchange. KABELO ADAMSON reports
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) aims to grow its GDP to over 50 percent and that feat could only be achieved when more companies list on the stock market, BSE CEO Thapelo Tsheole said. Tsheole was speaking during the inaugural Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) Listing Conference which was held on Thursday and aimed at attracting unlisted companies to the bourse. Tsheole said the stock market can only grow further when more companies list. He said during 2015, three (3) billion shares were traded compared to 2.1 billion traded in 2014 which shows improvement. Equally, the bond market is also said to have shown significant improvement over the last few years and has now reached the P10 billion. To make the stock market attractive, Tsheole said they need to promote confidence in the market and also protect investors. He said the demutualisation of the stock market, which will see the BSE operating as a private entity, will bring further growth to the stock market. Over 130 unlisted companies had representatives at the conference to learn more on the opportunities created by the listing on the exchange and how to use that as a vehicle for growth.
Speaking at the conference, Rand Merchant Bank, South Africa, Africa analyst Celeste Fauconnier said Botswana has a conducive environment which could be used to develop the stock markets. She said though commodity prices have gone down in recent years - affecting most African countries - there is confidence in the continent with vast opportunities still in existence. She said the continent presents opportunities for growth as there is economic activity compounded by the operating environment. Fauconnier said domestic companies can use that opportunity to further grow their risks through entering new markets outside their original countries of operation, giving examples of Letshego and Choppies as companies that have shown how growth can be achieved. Both companies have expanded beyond Botswana borders to other countries within the continent. For her part, BancABC regional Head of Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), Grace Setlhare-Mankanku suggested an alternative bourse for small scale businesses with less stringiest requirements established to cater for such group. She further suggested regional integration of the stock market as well as promoting automation to improve efficiency.
When officially opening the conference, Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the government was committed to growing the stock market. He said in 2015 the BSE's Domestic Company Index (DCI) outperformed Emerging Markets as measured by the Emerging Markets Index (MSCI EM), including Johannesburg Stock Exchange All Share Index (JSE ALSI) and the Stock Exchange of Mauritius Index (SEMDEX). He said the DCI appreciated by 11.6%, whereas the JSE ALSI appreciated by 1.9% and the MSCI EM and SEMDEX lost 12.7% and 17% respectively. “Government made a significant investment in the Botswana Stock Exchange with the establishment of the Central Securities Depository Company of Botswana (CSDB), which operates the Central Securities Depository (CSD) system,” Masisi said. Masisi said the government further funded the introduction of the Automated Trading System (ATS) at the BSE.