The East African region has a relatively shallow capital market compared to some markets in Northern and Southern Africa. Kenya has by far, the largest and most developed bond market in the region, comprising about 67% of the total outstanding government bonds in issue.
In the recent years, corporate firms in Kenya have turned to the bond market to raise medium to long term debt following the moves by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to maintain a stable interest rate policy. Currently, the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has over US$ 750 million dollars in listed corporate bond issues, most of which are tradable. Infrastructure bonds in Kenya have been taken up well by both local and foreign investors with the government lengthening the yield curve to 30 years in the March 2011 issue. This is the longest dated government bond in the region.
Regionally, there currently does not exist a common stock/bond exchange. However, over the recent years, the East African partner states have made strides in formulating policy to integrate the markets. The East African Securities Exchange Association (EASEA) is there to help the Securities Exchanges of each member country in this integration.
In 2010, the East African Community (EAC) Monetary Policy Committee, which includes the EAC Central Banks has commenced work on the interlinking of the EAC payment systems. Besides, African Regional Economic Communities are beginning to establish regional and sub-regional capital markets. Among the ongoing efforts to integrate financial markets is the East African Common Market Protocol (EACMP) which was signed and ratified on July 1st 2010. Furthermore, the East African Securities Regulatory Authorities (EASRA), which is the regional umbrella body for capital markets regulators, is drafting legislation that will allow for companies in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda float bonds within the region.
Convergence criteria of members of the East Africa Community (EAC) monetary union:
- Annual inflation rate equal or less than 8%
- Budget deficit ceiling: 3% GDP
- Public debt ceiling (actual value): 50% GDP
- Foreign exchange reserves covering at least 4,5 months of imports.
Regional Bond Market Initiatives
The EASEA Strategic Plan (2011 -2013) which involves the following projects:
- East African Stock Broker guidelines
- A Smart Order Routing system
- Regional investor awareness initiatives
- Regional IPOs and Inter-Depository linkages through the utilization of commercial banks with a regional presence for both the receipt of applications and transfer of funds
- Full implementation of CDS’s in all the four member states, then direct CDS inter-linkages will be implemented.
- East African Securities Regulatory Authorities (EASRA)
- East African Stock Exchanges Association (EASEA)
- East African Development Bank (EADB)
- Efficient Securities Markets Institutional Development (ESMID)
Summary table of the countries
|Country||GDP (US$ million) 2012||GDP growth (yoy)||External Debt (US$ million)||External Debt (as % of GDP)||Domestic public debt (US$ million)||Domestic public debt (as % of GDP)|