Zambia?s Lusaka Stock Exchange, based in the capital of Africa?s biggest copper producer, plans to complete the sale of shares to investors this year while starting a market for smaller companies.
The bourse hired consultants in November to manage the demutualization process in which it will issue stock to investors other than its members, Chief Executive Officer Brian Tembo said today in an e-mailed response to questions. The company, which will be two decades old next month, is owned by its members and incorporated as a non?profit company.
The exchange has put in place measures needed to start an alternative market for small companies to raise capital to fund growth, he said. Smaller Zambian companies struggle to access affordable finance with the government a year ago limiting interest rates banks can charge to 18.25 percent.
The government is relying on boosting growth of these companies to reduce unemployment in a country where about 6 percent of its 14-million population have formal jobs.
?The rules are ready and we have liaised with the Securities and Exchange Commission,? Tembo said. ?This is a lower requirements market, but not a lower standards market.?
The Lusaka Stock Exchange has 22 listed companies and its all-share index rose by 42 percent last year, making it Africa?s fourth-best performer.
At least three companies should list their shares on the bourse this year, Tembo said, without identifying them.