Global standards: African regulators seek greater role

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Arunma-Oteh-360x225Capital market regulators in Africa and the Middle East have emphasised the need for them to play a greater role when it comes to setting global standards.

The regulators made the call at the ongoing 32nd Africa/Middle East Regional Committee meeting in Livingstone, Zambia.

According to them, considering the fact that they are exposed to developments in other markets, it is important that they have an equal say in setting global standards.

This, they explained, would not only ensure that the specific needs and challenges of markets in the region were considered, it would also enable the capital markets in the region to take their rightful place in encouraging domestic and global economic growth.

At the meeting, which had over 70 participants, the regulators stressed the need for them to work together in tackling challenges of market liquidity, poor financial literacy and inclusion as well as increasing market efficiency and strengthening weak market intermediaries. However, in highlighting the need for uniform standards globally, the need for better representation for the region was emphasised.

The Chairperson, AMERC, Ms. Arunma Oteh, explained that equal representation was vital.

Oteh, who stressed that the benefits of being a part of IOSCO were great, said, “I think AMERC needs a greater voice. We don’t have a voice until we have equal voice among the regions. This message is to ensure that we are all equally represented.”

The Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Securities and Exchange Commission of Zambia, Dr. Wala Chabala, stressed that it was also important to give investors a voice in a bid to boost regulation.

On the efforts being made to ensure that markets in the region played a greater role in the development of their economies and the global economy, he said, “I think what we have to appreciate as far as the role of AMERC is concerned is that we are coming from economies that have by and large been small. We’ve actually gotten to the global scene more recently than other players that have been there for centuries.

“So, we need to ensure that as newcomers, we are able to have an equal voice because the issues that we grapple with as far as regulation is concerned cut across regions. And we’ve actually been, in some instances, victims of market failure elsewhere.”

He added that without having an equal voice, markets in Africa (and the Middle East) would always be “victims of decisions that are made elsewhere.”

“So, yes, we seek that we have equal voice in international fora like IOSCO and I am sure that will be delivered,” he said.

The Secretary General, West African Monetary Union, Mr. Mory Soumahoro, said because each market had its peculiarities, there was the need for a greater investor education.

He added that with various Memoranda of Understanding signed among African regulators, there would be increased cross-border cooperation.

He also called for a better approach to regulation.

The Deputy Secretary General, IOSCO, Mr. Tajinder Singh, however, explained that while it was important to have a voice, it was more important to have a place where things were properly done.

He said, “I think that it is important that we have a voice, but I believe it is better to have a situation where things are done properly.”

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