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The top 5 stock exchanges in Africa



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The African continent represents a major attraction for foreign investors looking to invest in the continents frontier markets. For most of these investors access to African markets are limited to just a handful of stock exchanges.

In this article, we bring to you 5 of Africa’s largest stock exchange where foreign investors often look at investing in.

  1. Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)

The JSE is the biggest stock exchange in Africa by Market Capitalisation. It was founded on November 8, 1887.

It is South Africa’s only full service securities exchange, connecting buyers and sellers in a variety of different markets, namely equities, equity derivatives, agricultural derivatives and interest rate instruments.

 Key Facts

  • Market Capitalisation – $987 billion.
  • Number of Companies Listed – 388
  • Foreign Domiciled Companies – 76
  • Market Cap over GDP ratio is 278.94%
  • Trading and Settlement – T+3
  1. Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE)

The Nigerian Stock Exchange started in 1960 as the Lagos Stock Exchange. I’m 1977, it changed its name to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The NSE is one of the most developed stock exchanges in Africa and offers a range of instruments for investors in the equities, bonds and derivatives market.

Key Facts

  • Market Cap – $44 billion
  • Market Cap over GDP ratio – 8.83%
  • Number of Companies Listed – 176
  1. Egyptian Stock Exchange

The Egyptian Stock Exchange (EGX) comprises two exchanges, Alexandria opened in 1883 and Cairo stock exchange opened in 1903.

Key Facts

Market Cap – $46 billion

Number of Listed Companies – 222

Market Cap to GDP ratio – 17.61%

Trading and Settlement – T+0 for securities traded by the intra-day trading system. T+1 for all other securities.

  1. Casablanca Stock Exchange

The Casablanca Stock Exchange was established in 1929, and was known as the “Office de compensation des valeurs mobilieres  (office for clearing of transferable securities)

Key Facts

  • Market Cap – $48 billion
  • Market Cap to GDP ratio – 46.43%
  • Number of listed companies – 75
  • Trading and Settlement – T+3
  1. Namibian Stock Exchange

The Namibian Stock Exchange is one of the oldest stock exchanges in Africa, founded in 1904. It relaunched in 1992.

The Namibian Stock Exchange is the second biggest stock exchange in Africa in terms of Market Capitalisation, as it has been making use of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s equity trading systems and services to trade, clear and settle it’s securities.


The International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 2016, raised about $12 million in bonds which was used for private sector development in the country. This shows the faith of the international investing community in a market like the Namibian.

Key Facts

Market Cap – About $76 billion

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Number of Listed Companies – 36


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Stock Market

Banking Index slumps to 375.35 Index points, as Sterling and Wema shares lose over 10%

The NSE Banking Index in the first week of March declined by 1.94% to close at 375.35 index points.



Global stocks sell-off persists as resurgence of COVID-19 frighten investors 

The Nigerian Stock Exchange Banking Index at the close of trading activities in the first week of March, declined by 1.94% to close at 375.35 index points.

This is according to data from the Nigerian Stock Exchange, seen by Nairametrics.

The slump was due to the underperformance of most banking stocks during the week, notably, Sterling and Wema Bank which recorded the worst decline of 14.04% and 12.70% respectively, for the period under review.

This loss placed the aforementioned banks in the top 10 decliners for the week. It is also pertinent to note that only Unity Bank (among the listed banking stocks) emerged in NSE top 10 gainers for the week, with a share price appreciation of 8.96%.

Nairametrics had earlier reported that investors in the elite banks in Nigeria (FUGAZ) lost a total of N34.68 billion in a single trading session on Thursday, 4th of March 2021, due to downward pressure on their respective share prices caused by sell-offs.

On the other hand, the Financial Services Industry led the activity chart by volume with 1.63 billion shares valued at N10.73 billion traded in 13,269 deals; thus contributing 78.06% and 36.06% to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.

What you should know:

  • The NSE Banking Index had earlier appreciated by 0.69% to close at 382.76 index points, last week.
  • On a general note, the NSE All-Share Index and Market Capitalization depreciated by 1.18% to close the week at 39,331.61 and N20.578 trillion respectively.
  • Trading in the top three equities namely Wema Bank Plc, Axamansard Insurance Plc, and Zenith Bank Plc (measured by volume) accounted for 903.561 million shares worth N5.564 billion in 4,017 deals.
  • A total turnover of 2.092 billion shares worth N29.744 billion in 24,238 deals were traded this week by investors on the floor of the Exchange.

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Stock Market

How instability in the FX market trigger foreign investors apathy in Nigeria’s equities market

Chukwu has explained how foreign exchange crises have negatively impacted foreign investors’ sentiment in Nigeria’s equities market.



The Chief Executive Officer of Cowry Asset Management, Mr Johnson Chukwu, has explained how a combination foreign exchange crises have negatively impacted foreign investors’ sentiment in Nigeria’s equities market.

The analysis was in response to the recent Nigerian Stock Exchange’s Domestic and Foreign Portfolio Investment Report for January 2021, which showed that domestic participation in the equities market outperformed foreign transactions, as the latter could only account for 20% of the total market activities.

The report further indicated a downward trend in the share of foreign participation in the equities market, from about 51% in 2018 to 20% as at January 2021.

Reacting to the development, Mr Chukwu in an interview with Arise TV blamed the combination of FX liquidity crisis and instability of the Nigerian foreign exchange market as underlying causes for the downward trajectory.

He said: ‘’If you look at the trend in the past three years, you will observe that foreign portfolio investment into Nigerian equities market has been declining. In 2018, it was 51% of the entire market, so they actually trumped local investors. By 2019, it declined to 49%, implying that the local investors had trumped them. However in 2020, they only accounted for 34% of the entire market, it further came down to 20% by January 2020. Of course, we know those factors that are driving away foreign portfolio investment in the country, and until those factors are addressed, we are likely to see the trend continue.”

On how FX instability and illiquidity contributed to the decline, Mr Chukwu remarked that: “The main factor that drive foreign inflow into the economy is the liquidity in the FX market. Foreign investors want to be able to convert back to their foreign currencies when they want to exit. If there is no liquidity in the FX market, foreign portfolio investors stay away from the market. As you know, the Nigeria FX market witnessed locking of foreign portfolio investors who sold their investments and wanted to exit, but they could not access FX to exit. So because those people couldn’t exit, new investors couldn’t come in. You can’t really go into a market when people are trapped.

“Another factor that could influence them is the stability or predictability of the exchange rate. But the most important factor is the liquidity in the FX market. If you look at the year, these foreign portfolio investments were impressive, oil price was quite strong, for example in 2018, they brought in about N1.2 trillion accounting for 51% of the market activities.”

On the flip side, Mr Chukwu explained why local investors’ participation has been growing. He attributed the increase to the collapse of interest rates and the impressive returns posted by the NSE last year.

‘’The basic thing that happened was that because local interest rates collapsed last year and they remain very low even in January, , local investors particularly institutional investors are underweighting their portfolios in fixed income and overweighting them in equities. When interest rates are very low, investors will switch to the instruments that will give them high yield and in this instance, variable income assets like equities and that was what happened last year and is still happening now,’’ he said.

What you should know

  • Nairametrics reported that despite a bullish run of the NSE in 2020, total investments in the Nigerian stock market as at January 2021 dipped by 13.7% M-o-M.
  • Total foreign transactions as at the aforementioned period stood at N47.52 billion, while domestic transactions stood at N184.94 billion.

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