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Rwandan stock market investors may be able to conduct seamless transactions, especially settlements, across the region by the end of June next year, thanks to integration of East African securities exchanges planned for the second quarter 2017.

According to the East Africa Security Exchange Association (EASEA) chairman Pierre Celestin Rwabukumba, the markets are currently ‘fine-tuning’ and testing the $3.8 million software that facilitates the process, which will enable investors to trade shares across all exchanges, without having to move from market to market.

« The legal framework is ready, we are just dealing with the final touches to ensure that we roll out the system when all the glitches have been addressed to ensure efficiency and safety of investor money, » he said.

Rwabukumba, who is also the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) chief, revealed that the local exchange is in the final stages of automating its trading infrastructure.

The platform will automatically link the RSE trading infrastructure with the Central Securities Depository (CSD) and Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) at the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR).

Speaking at the end of a two-day EASEA meeting in Kigali, Rwabukumba said the exchanges are focusing on fast-tracking regional integration initiatives, particularly the capital market infrastructure (CMI) project, which is in its final stages, and conducting regional public awareness drives as well as enhancing the capacity of players to enhance efficiency.

« We must innovate, educate and advocate to ensure sustainability, » he said.

Sector experts say integration of regional exchanges infrastructure will boost activity and create more interest among East Africans to trade and invest in shares.

Hilda Njeni, the head of legal and compliance at the Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC) in Kenya, said it is important to fast-track the CMI project and implement it by June next year.

She noted that this would, however, require more engagement with stakeholders across the board.

Paul Bwiso, the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) chief executive officer, said once all regional markets are linked, it will enable seamless movement of securities and payments across the EAC capital markets, and thus creating a one regional financial market.

Mary Mniwasa, the Dar-es-Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) head of legal and compliance, said the integrating the regional markets will position East Africa stock markets as the platform of choice for raising long-term funding in the region.

The EASE A leaders tasked the CMI implementation team to ensure the project is delivered within the agreed timeframe.

EASEA strategic initiatives

Meanwhile, the EASEA secretariat adopted a five-year strategic plan that would help increase the product offerings of each market, ensure capacity building of market intermediaries and support integration of market infrastructure, including trading platforms and depository interface.

According to Rwabukumba, the plan will help boost market liquidity and deepen participation of EAC citizens.