26 May 2014

Tunisia Promotes a Financial Market Culture

press release

From the 22nd to 24th of May 2014 the Tunisi Stock Exchange held a specialized exhibition on stock exchanges and financial services called Investia, whose aim was to promote a financial market culture in Tunisia and across the region.

The objective of the exhibition was to demystify capital markets and promote them as an alternative avenue for businesses, especially small ones, to raise capital for their ventures.

The Investia exhibition offered active, beginner and potential investors a wealth of information as well as training on how financial markets work, who the players are, and the techniques of portfolio management. The investors also had an opportunity to meet with financial service providers and the private sector, including publicly traded and privately owned companies, in order to get a better understanding of financial market dynamics.

The exhibition is part of an on-going campaign, supported by the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), to increase awareness of the public and local investors of the opportunities offered by the Tunis Stock Exchange. This campaign has included an online stock market game called myinvestia.com where students, professionals and other people could trade stocks virtually as a way to make them more aware of stock markets and how they work.

ICF has been helping to strengthen the capacity of the Tunis Stock Exchange since 2011. This support has included strengthening the training capacity of the Tunisian Stock Market Training Institute and broadening the geographic scope of its interventions; developing brokerage related services; raising awareness and promoting stock literacy of current and potential investors; and sharing knowledge with other African French-speaking stock exchange associations.

This support is expected to increase investment vehicles by 20% each year (starting with 53,000 stakeholders). It aims at increasing Stocks Saving Accounts by 20% from the current 9,500 accounts.

Already, 9 IPOs have registered in 2013, (compared to 2 in 2012, and 1 in 2011). Already 77 professionals have been trained in Corporate Finance, Asset Management and Islamic Finance. Moreover, 14 out of 60 candidates have passed the CISI certificate for Corporate Finance.

Speaking about the exhibition, ICF CEO William Asiko said:

"Small and Medium Enterprises often struggle to access the funding they need to grow their businesses and expand. The financial markets are one solution to this problem, offering businesses an alternate source of funding from the traditional bank loans. ICF is therefore happy to support the promotion of financial markets in Tunisia and to work with the Tunis Stock Exchange to expand its reach and services. This is a concrete step towards improving the investment climate in Tunisia."

Speaking at the Investia exhibition, the CEO of the Stock Market Exchange Mr. Mohamed Bichiou said:

''ICF has brought an inestimable amount of support to the Tunis Stock Exchange during these last three years to allow the development of a modern educational program. We are very proud of this partnership which has borne fruit rather quickly. We have seen a record number of introductions of companies in the stock exchange since 2013, and the entrance of thousands of investors to support their growth. Moreover, I would like to take this opportunity of the Investia Exhibition to thank CEOs and Chairmen of French-speaking Stock Exchanges of Africa (Algiers, BRVM, Casablanca and Douala) for their presence among us today to sign a memorandum of cooperation with Tunis Stock Exchange. We will work with them to strengthen our cooperation and share with them our financial market culture program. We shall put this educational program and our expertise at their disposal to stimulate investment awareness in our region in order to develop our markets and foster integration".

The Tunis Stock Exchange is the first stock market that ICF has supported. ICF is also supporting the Ethiopian Commodities Exchange as a way to ensure farmers get fairer prices for their commodities.

About the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF)

The Investment Climate Facility for Africa is a donor funded, private sector focused development institution that works with businesses and African governments to create a conducive legal, regulatory and administrative environment for businesses, both big and small, to invest and grow. ICF believes that an improved investment climate is critical for job creation, income growth and poverty reduction across the continent. Apart from strengthening financial markets, ICF also provides support in the areas of property rights and contract enforcement, business registration and licensing, commercial justice, infrastructure facilitation, customs and tax. ICF is supported by development partners and the private sector. For more information, please visit www.icfafrica.org

Media contact:

Eunice Urio

Communication Manager

Investment Climate Facility for Africa

Tel: 255 22 212 9211

Email: eurio@icfafrica.org

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