Kenya’s financial markets are the third most advanced in Africa, Absa Financial Markets Index shows. With a score of 65, Kenya’s financial markets depth leads the East African region, followed by Tanzania (55), Rwanda (53), Uganda (52) and Ethiopia (27).
The report also notes that Kenya is among the continent’s most innovative countries in financial markets citing products such as M-Akiba that allow retail investors access to government bonds through their mobile phones.
However, the report also shows that Kenya’s position when it comes to foreign exchange liquidity has dropped to the fifth following the IMF’s reclassification of its exchange rate regime to ‘other managed arrangement’ from floating.
Barclays Kenya a key Player
According to Jeremy Awori, Barclays Bank Kenya continues to be a key player and delivers initiatives that transform the capital markets space.
For instance, the bank partnered with the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to launch the 10 year CMA master plan that will facilitate the development of Kenya’s financial markets. The bank was also the first financial institution in the region to list an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), the New Gold ETF on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. The ETF has been one of the best performing asset classes on the exchange having netted returns of more than 20 per cent since the start of the year due to a rally in prices of gold on the global market.
According to Mr Awori, the bank is working on introducing Wealth and Asset Management propositions to its clients even as it prepares to change its name to Absa. The bank has in the last few months made major milestones which includes migration of key technologies from Barclays to Absa hosting.
“There are still several legal and regulatory milestones to achieve before we can announce our final changeover date, and we are working closely with regulators on this,” noted Mr Awori while addressing financial markets stakeholders during the launch of the Index.
“For a period of time, you will see both Barclays and Absa brands in the market, but please be assured that there is no change in the way you bank. All cards, accounts, cheque books etc. will remain active and function as they always have. ” Jeremy noted.
According to Jeff Gable, ABSA Group Chief Economist, the essence of the index is to highlight the countries that are making their financial markets open, transparent, and accessible.
Listen to our exclusive chat with Absa Group Chief Economist Jeff Gable as he expounds on the report and its implication for Kenya’s financial markets.