It is with great pleasure that I stand before you to deliver the Official Remarks at the 2nd Botswana Stock Exchange Opening Bell Ceremony. An event, that I strongly believe, will be synonymous with the Botswana Stock Exchange for many years to come.
First and foremost, allow me to extend my utmost appreciation at the Botswana Stock Exchange Board and Management Team led by the CEO Thapelo Tsheole for the inception of this globally-recognized, stock market ritual. The introduction of this event further demonstrates the BSE’s commitment to being part of the national agenda.
From Government’s standpoint, initiatives such as this one are very much welcomed as they demonstrate our commitment towards raising awareness and driving Botswana’s local capital markets on the global stage as the preferred destination for issuers and investors. They further demonstrate and raise awareness on the role of the BSE in the economic growth and diversification of Botswana and drives us closer the financial inclusion that we are championing as a country. Remember our endeavours as a financial hub, through our Financial Service Centre. I have been informed that the BSE officially launched their five (5) year strategy in 2017 which will aim to grow the market in terms of the number of issuances, asset classes and investors by 2021. In addition to the aforementioned, the BSE is also undergoing a transitional process to be fully a demutualized entity by the end of 2018. This transformation will not only enhance the Exchange’s governance structure, but it will also broaden its access to resources required to fund its growth and innovation. It is important for the Government to see the BSE edge closer to being more responsive to market pressures of being a World-Class Securities Exchange. In turn, better serve this economy as an enabler of economic growth and diversification. As highlighted in the Inaugural Ceremony which was officiated by the Honourable Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Ontefetse K. Matambo, the Opening-Bell Ceremony is a stock market tradition that is associated with securities exchanges around the world to signify the start of trading. This Ceremony also acts as a platform to officially welcome new issuers into the market. As such, it will generate exposure for listed entities and provide the BSE with a platform to make news announcements or celebrate corporate and national milestones.
For those who are not aware, the Opening-Bell Ceremony is a historic stock market event that dates-back to the late 1800s as a practice that was first adopted by the New York Stock Exchange. To date, Exchanges around the world such as NASDAQ and the London Stock Exchange have incorporated the Opening Bell Ceremony which in turn, have availed an opportunity for dignitaries, listed companies, celebrities, national icons and the every-day investor the chance to open the market for trading.
I have been reliably informed that the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) have finally approved the New Equity Listings Requirements that are due to commence soon. These requirements were drafted to reflect international current market practices and legislative changes. One of the most interesting developments that come with the approval of the requirements is the establishment of the Tshipidi SME Board. This Board will cater for the enterprises that are not able to meet the requirements of the existing boards by providing less onerous or easy listing rules that are appropriate for their stage of development, while at the same time maximizing market efficiency, facilitating risk control and developing the capital market. This is in line with the new thinking, that of ease of Doing Business. The Small Medium Enterprises (SME) sector is important to the economy of Botswana and we welcome this very important development. A presentation on these Requirements will be facilitated by the BSE after this ceremony.
With those few remarks, I would once again like to commend the efforts of Rre Tsheole and the BSE in creating a conducive and enabling environment for all market participants as we strive to optimize national economic empowerment. We recognize your good work and we urge all stakeholders to continue to demonstrate the true character of corporate citizenry. I wish to thank all of you for attending and I am happy to have had the opportunity to interact with you today. I therefore declare the Market Officially Opened.
*Vice President Slumber Tsogwane was speaking at the BSE Opening Bell Ceremony in Gaborone.