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Angola sets sights on capital-markets reform

Euromoney, November 18, 2014

The development of Angola's capital markets has been long promised but recent indications from the country's capital-markets commission suggests secondary public-debt trading could begin as early as next month. Nevertheless, it's unclear when the stock exchange will open its doors.

The long-awaited Angolan securities exchange is due to open its doors as early as December, starting with a secondary public debt market, according to statements made by officials from the Angolan Capital Markets Commission at a conference on October 23, say market players.

Equities trading - which the government hopes will reel in international interest given Angola's  strong growth - could follow in 2016, officials have indicated.

Nevertheless, market players are generally sceptical that the long-promised bourse will open as early as then, citing a lack of progress in improving corporate governance, the challenges of capital-account liberalization to attract foreign savings and question marks over likely IPO candidates.

Tiago Dionisio, assistant director at asset management and brokerage firm Eaglestone, says: "We believe that the secondary market for public debt will open at the end of this year, or at the latest in January 2015. Equities trading will take a little longer to come into play."

Anthony Lopes-Pinto, managing director of Imara in Angola, who attended the conference in Luanda, adds: "Introducing secondary bond market trading is the first step and will be a way for the Capital Markets Commission of Angola to test the waters."

"In its nature, secondary bond markets are not as dynamic so it will give the authorities some time to adjust the system if needed."

Plans to open a securities exchange in Angola dates back long before 2002, when the 30-year civil war that ravaged Angola's economy finally came to an end. As early as the idea was planted, plans came to a standstill.

"While other African countries were developing their own exchanges, the Angolan authorities were focusing on rebuilding their country," says Eaglestone's Dionisio. "Plans for a securities exchange were rightly put on the back burner."...

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