African capital markets are increasingly adopting disruption to make investing more transparent and accessible to a younger, tech-savvy generation, and see an increase in trading volumes.
Oscar Onyema was appointed the new CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in 2011, having previously been senior vice president of the American Stock Exchange. The exchange needed to change to increase transparency and make investing easier, and for this, Onyema turned to technology.
The NSE’s X-GEN trading platform was launched in 2013, offering better access to real-time data, thereby improving governance and transparency. Onyema described it as the fastest-trading platform in Africa.
Its impact was immediate. The average daily value of trade increased by around a third, to over $14 million in 2017. Other capital markets across the continent are following suit and adopting tech to make investing more transparent and accessible. The Nairobi Securities Exchange, for example, rolled out its Automated Trading System in 2014. “Technology has enabled stock exchanges to enhance their surveillance capabilities contributing to transparency in the market,” The Nairobi exchange followed this up with the launch of its own mobile app, which its head of brand and corporate affairs Waithera Mwai-Ireri says would “democratize” access to capital market-related information in Kenya. The app provides quick and easy information for potential investors and allows investments to be made in real-time.
Mwai-Ireri said the move was designed to make investing on capital markets accessible to a younger, tech-savvy generation.
“The NSE app will enable investors to track market activity on a continuous basis enabling them to make real-time investment decisions. The app will spur interest in the capital market amongst the youth in the country, who make up over 75 percent of our total population,” she says.
The Nairobi exchange is a leader in Africa in terms of tech not only for its app, but its mobile-traded government M-Akiba bond. Mwai-Ireri said stock exchanges across the continent were seeing huge increases in trading volumes as a result of the use of technology.
“The use of technology has fast-tracked the development of Africa’s exchanges. Technology has enabled stock exchanges to enhance their surveillance capabilities contributing to transparency in the market,”
she says, adding she expected more exchanges across Africa to launch mobile-based applications in the coming years.
The younger, tech-savvy audience being targeted by exchanges such as those in Nigeria and Kenya may, however, have already found alternative ways of investing their money, away from traditional institutions […]