28 February 2016

Zambia: Build Solid Capital Market

editorial

In the course of last week, the country was yet again host to one of the eminent people in the world, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Jeffrey Mountevans.

The Lord Mayor revealed that Britain was willing to support the growth of Zambia's capital market, which is worth acknowledging because the local stock market needs to expand and subsequently help the economy grow.

As we all know, capital markets provide a huge reservoir of liquidity and a global investor base. Therefore, any assistance towards this realisation was welcome and should be supported.

The Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) needs to expand in order to help Zambia's long-term financing needs.

Developing LuSE and the capital market will help create cutting edge infrastructure and a sustainable, prosperous economy that will see the creation of wealth.

Developed capital markets will help Zambia's long-term financing needs as they shift investment that facilitates the accumulation of capital and production of goods and services.

Of course capital markets do not just allow companies to grow.

It is a question of quality as well as scale. Listing transforms fundamentally the way in which business is run, thus bringing in new efficiencies and allowing for a better return on capital.

Nationally, deep and liquid capital will act as a shock absorber in case of local or global economic problems.

Well-developed capital markets help to cushion the country during the financial strain as capital inflow could be absorbed and the dependency on foreign debt reduced.

At their best, capital markets are central to innovation, job creation and productivity.

A well-run capital market is not only beneficial to an individual, company or business, but also the entire economy.

In the absence of well-developed financial markets, it is expensive to raise capital because company information tends to be limited and not transparent.

Investors prefer economies with better-developed financial systems.

To realise all these benefits, players in the sector should not waste energy on finger-pointing or apportioning blame on individuals because that in itself is retrogressive.

While there are shortcomings in the market, the focus should be on identifying win-win solutions to grow the market.

Zambia is at an exciting point of time when the economy is faced with numerous challenges such as the energy deficit that warrants huge investments in the sector.

This includes other forms of energy like solar which was previously neglected.

The foregoing puts into perspective that this is an exciting year for economic players to be active.

With these pronouncements by the Government, there is an excellent opportunity for capital markets to thrive.

It remains for the capital market players to play their role and realise the opportunities created.

There is also need to increasingly engage the private sector in identifying and appraising projects which are commercially viable to attract private financing.

With the eagerness of Britain to support the sector, we challenge capital market players to position the sector in the face of the investors.

Zambia

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