Magazine article African Business

Namibia: The New Southern Star

Magazine article African Business

Namibia: The New Southern Star

Article excerpt

In just three and a half years, the Namibian Stock Exchange has exploded to become one of Africa's largest. Brian Scudder caught up with the NSE's General Manager, Mr Tom Minney, as he made one of his flying visits to London.

An investment journalist by trade, Mr. Tom Minney was one of the first to buy shares on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSE) when it opened in October 1992. Today he is its General Manager.

In this short space of time, the NSE has grown at a breathtaking pace. It originally began as an Association of 36 Namibian businesses, each laying out N$10,000 (R1 to N$1) to give a total capitalisation of N$360,000 for the first three years. By 1994, the NSE was breaking even and able to begin ploughing profits into expansion. The NSE had become a viable option, and people were beginning to sit up and take note.

"The NSE is a special case in some ways," says Mr Minney. "Its development was accelerated because of the number of dual listings with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. We are in the same common monetary area which makes the shifting of stocks from one Exchange to the other very easy, and with the big South African banks and Insurance companies listed, we have one of the biggest market capitalisations in Africa.

"Standard Bank Investment Corporation and First National Bank, the Southern Life Association, Mutual and Freedom have helped create a market capitalisation of N$70bn."

Trading takes place four hours a day, Monday to Fridays, with a morning and an afternoon session. "The whole system is computerised," says Mr Minney, "so no one needs to actually stand there and shout to anyone!" There are now three brokers, and although there has been no formal announcement, there will definitely be an expansion on the broking side this coming year.

Long-term thinking

This expansion is being made possible because of some long-term thinking from the Namibian Government. …

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