The African Exchange Linkage Project (AELP) is a joint initiative by the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) and the African Development Bank to facilitate cross-border trading and settlement of securities in Africa, unlock Pan-African investment flows, promote innovations that support diversification for investors, and address depth and liquidity in the markets.
In its initial phase, the Project aims to create linkage between 7 African capital markets that represent >90% of Africa’s market capitalization:
- Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM, integrating eight West African countries)
- Casablanca Stock Exchange (BVC)
- Egyptian Exchange (EGX)
- Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)
- Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)
- Nigerian Stock Exchange (NGSE)
- Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM)
Cross-border trading between the seven markets totaled $1.1 illion in 2019, and was at over $500 million in the first quarter of 2020, according to the participating markets. The “African Listed Securities” assets across these exchanges offers equities investments in more than 1,050 companies, including Africa’s most promising, profitable companies and global leaders. Investors will also buy or sell bonds, exchange- traded funds (ETFs) and derivatives if they are listed on the participating Exchanges.
The framework for the Linkage is “sponsored access”. This is based on the model where a registered stockbroker (“originating broker”) in one participating securities exchange takes an order from a domestic client and asks a registered stockbroker on another exchange to execute the trade in that market. The executing or “sponsoring broker” is responsible for ensuring compliance to the rules, settlement and practice of the market where the security is bought or sold. The securities are to be held in the Central Securities Depository (CSD)where the security was traded, reducing cross-border movement of securities and streamlining settlement and clearing to comply with only one market–the market where the trade was executed and the security is held.
AELP will foster investment flows among the participating Exchanges by enabling:
- Cross-border securities trading using an order-routing system (AELP Link technology platform) to channel orders between Stockbrokers on participating Exchanges
- A Stockbroker sponsors the trade on the host Exchange
- Custody and settlement will be on the host Exchange according to its market rules and practice.
- Sponsoring broker and local custodian will be involved
- Live trading information among linked Exchanges and market participants
- Promote the African Listed Securities asset class and creating new products and securities on the linked Exchanges so that asset managers, stockbrokers, institutional investors and individual investors can identify investment opportunities across African markets
- Cross-border capital raising and Initial Public Offers (IPOs)
- Develop capacity between the Exchanges and boost collaboration between capital market Regulators, Central Banks and central depositories.
Other African Stock Exchanges will be included in later phases of the project.