East Africa Exchange formally launched
BUSINESS| July 4, 2014, 7:55 a.m.
Africa Exchange Holdings has introduced the East Africa Exchange (EAX) at the 6th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. His Excellency Presidency Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya launched the regional exchange.
Established by Tony O. Elumelu, CON, of Heirs Holdings, Nicolas Berggruen of Berggruen Holdings, Dr. Jendayi Frazer of 50 Ventures and Rwandan investment company Ngali Holdings— the EAX is a commodity exchange that aims to increase regional market efficiency and give the growing population, particularly smallholder farmers, better access to commercial markets.
The EAX will link small-scale farmers in the East African community (EAC) to agricultural and financial markets so they can get competitive pricing for crops and access to finance. EAX will use NASDAQ’s OMX X-Stream trading platform for electronic trading and warehouse receipts so farmers can deposit their produce into EAX certified warehouses and access its services.
The importance of commodity exchanges was first mentioned in the Abuja Treaty of 1991 and endorsed by Heads of State and government in 2005. In 2013, EAX became the first regional exchange to link smallholder farmers to agricultural and financial markets with competitive pricing.
At the formal launch, Mr. Elumelu said, “The EAX showcases our desire to identify far reaching investment opportunities, while ensuring that most of the value-adding aspects of Africa’s resource wealth stay on our continent. Africa must move toward greater self-sufficiency with private investment and strategic partnerships, just as we have done at EAX through our partnership with NASDAQ.”
The EAX provides opportunities for faster and more inclusive African economic growth through intra-African trade previously unseen on this scale in the region. More regional trade will increase employment, accommodate a higher number of market participants and drive greater scale in terms of agricultural financing.
Nicolas Berggruen said, “EAX is complementing the EAC’s goal of regional economic integration, and putting in place a world-class exchange to create a globally competitive market for Africa’s commodities.”
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Jendayi Frazer said, “The EAX has the capacity to facilitate cross border trading of commodities within the EAC, providing a central marketplace, connecting buyers and sellers throughout the region. To be a true regional exchange we are also opening up for regional investors so we can become East-African owned.”
Irene Ndikumwenayo, Ngai Holdings, Chief Financial Officer, an EAX board member and EAX shareholder, echoed the importance of the regional nature of the exchange. “The East African region is the fastest growing bloc in Africa. It only makes sense for local companies to support the initiative and to promote trade and economic growth in our region,” he said.
Also in attendance at the launch were the host, His Excellency Presidency Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, and Honorable Tedros Adhanon, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Ehiopia, as well as the three principal investors in EAX and Board Chairman, Dr. Jendayi Frazer.
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