In the Absa Africa Financial Markets Index 2020, countries made strides in growing their markets, boosting international activity and linking exchanges, but some initiatives were put on hold due to the pandemic.

 

On average, countries’ scores dropped by 0.6 from 2019. This partly reflects the decline in local equity indices as markets reacted to Covid-19. Liquidity was more mixed, as a fall in foreign investor activity in equities was partly offset by central banks and local investors in bond markets.

Market capitalisation decreased across most markets in the index, but exchanges have remained operational with staff working remotely during the virus disruption. In many countries, initial public offerings were put on hold because of the pandemic. This included Lesotho, where the Maseru Securities Market was set to become fully operational with its first two IPOs.

Seychelles climbs two places in Pillar 1. The country’s Merj Exchange has been successful in lifting the size of its equity market since it was rebranded from Trop-X in 2019. Following a number of listings, equity market capitalisation rose to 89% of GDP from 21% to give Seychelles the third largest stock market relative to the size of its economy in the index. It remains behind South Africa at 275% of GDP and Botswana at 176% of GDP.

This is an excerpt from Africa Financial Markets Index 2020, a report in collaboration with Absa and OMFIF.