19 January 2013

West African Capital Markets Integration Council Inaugurated

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Abuja - Nigeria — The President of ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo on 18th January 2013 in Abuja, inaugurated the West African Capital Markets Integration Council (WACMIC) as the apex governance organ for integrating the region's capital markets.

The Council, one of the pillars for the creation of the West African Common Investment Market (ECIM), and which comprises the Directors-General and Chief Executives of the region's Securities and Exchange Commissions (SECs) and Stock Exchanges, was inaugurated during a courtesy on the President by the members. It will help entrench a harmonized regulatory environment for the issuance and trading of long-term financial securities across the region as well as develop a common platform for cross-border quotation, listing and trading of such securities in the regional market.

The President who was represented by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Industry, Customs and Free Movement, Mr. Hamid Ahmed applauded the WACMIC initiative, the brainchild of industry stakeholders and pledged the support of the Commission for the Council and the realization of its objectives. He emphasized the importance of integrating the regional capital markets in savings mobilization, resource allocation, capital formation and fostering more efficient and resilient stock markets across the region.

The President also challenged the WACMIC to fast-track the integration process to enable the capital market play its role of real sector development in regional economy. Members of the Council used the opportunity of the Charter signature ceremony held as part of the inauguration, to reaffirm their loyalty and hailed the impending harmonization of regulations and integration of existing trading platforms into a regional bourse as a milestone in capital market integration in the region. The Charter provides for the harmonization of operational rules and regulations and Member States' stock exchanges into an integrated stock market.

Two technical committees set up for Quotation, Listing and Membership, and Depository, Trading, Clearing and Settlement, have since commenced the harmonization of the various aspects of capital markets operations and regulation in the region. Members of the Committees were drawn from the Securities and Exchange Commissions, the Stock Exchanges, Depositories, Clearing and Settlement institutions, Market Operators, Association of Stock-broking Houses, the ECOWAS Commission and UEMOA Commissions, and WAMI.

Members of the Council promised to commit resources and personnel for the realization of the goal and urged the ECOWAS Commission to provide leadership support to help them discharge their responsibilities while recognizing the important role of the West Africa Monetary Institute (WAMI) in ensuring that the milestone is attained. The process for integrating the region's capital market started in 2010 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the Stock Exchanges and the regulatory authorities in the region to deepen cooperation, promote mutual assistance, and facilitate the exchange of information and consultation between and among countries.

This is in conformity with the broad objectives of the International Organization of Securities Commission (IOSCO) and World Federation of Exchanges (WFE). The Abuja ceremony was attended by Directors-General of SECs and CEOs of Stock Exchanges in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and the BRVM, (the single market of eight Francophone West African countries).

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