Gabon, Cameroon fight to host Central Africa's stock marketBy BISONG ETAHOBEN in Yaounde | Monday, March 12 2012 at 10:27
National rivalries between Cameroon and Gabon could sink a plan to unite their independent stock exchanges which have so far proved unviable on their own.
The Douala Stock Exchange (DSX) was started in 2006 by the Cameroon government in order to pre-empt Gabon's planned creation of the Libreville Securities Exchange of Central Africa in 2008.
Yaounde had felt it should host the stock market as it is the economic engine of Central Africa but leaders of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (Cemac) opted for Gabon to host a unified market.
But due to limited financial and investment resources the sub region has been unable to sustain the two markets leading to their sluggish take off and the drive to combine them.
Cemac groups together Cameroon, Gabon, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville and Equatorial Guinea.
At a 2010 summit in Bangui, Cemac leaders mandated the Surveillance Commission of the Central African Finance Market to contract experts to study the possibilities of uniting the two bourses.
The World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were consulted with the AfDB eventually retained to study possibilities and present its recommendations for adoption by Cemac.
A source told the Africa Review that the two countries involved the tussle to host the headquarters of Cemac's market were not making it easy for the AfDB.
Not making it easy
"For reasons of national pride, none of the two countries is willing to cede space to the other," the source, who declined to be named as they are not an official bank spokesperson, said.
"What we are trying to do in the face of this recalcitrance on the part of Cameroon and Gabon is to work on a scenario where a unified finance market for Central Africa is created with two separate attributions for stocks and securities, so that each one of the two countries hosts one component."
But analysts paint a less-than-bright picture of the outlook.
"This is exactly what has been happening since Douala opened in 2006 and Libreville in 2008. The two finance markets have been specialised in stocks and securities respectively but nothing seems to have been working," said finance economist Oben Jackson.
"The only solution is to fuse the two attributes into one viable finance market operating the two specialties," said finance economist Oben Jackson.
AfDB was to report on the stalemate during a Cemac heads of state summit slated for last month but the event did not take place.
It is hoped that the delay in holding the summit might work in favour of finding the elusive consensus on the location of the stock market.
But observers say with national pride pulling Cameroon and Gabon in opposite directions, the solution might lie in locating the unified Cemac Securities and Stock Exchange in a third country.
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