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Arab markets have 1,662 listed companies with $3.1trn in capital - EGX Chairman

Arab markets have 1,662 listed companies with $3.1trn in capital - EGX Chairman
Mohamed Farid, Chairman of the Egyptian Exchange - (Photo Archive)

Cairo – Mubasher: The Arab Federation of Exchanges (AFE) now has 21 members, representing 17 stock and commodity exchanges, four clearing companies, and several securities brokerage companies in the Arab region, the Chairman of the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), Mohamed Farid, said on Monday.

The total number of companies listed on Arab bourses reached 1,662 with a combined capital of $3.1 trillion by the end of 2019, Farid added in his speech at the AFE Annual Conference Saudi 2021.

Farid, who chaired AFE over the past two years before the presidency was passed to the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) on Saturday, thanked all members of the federation for the efforts exerted in reforming and developing the federation during the EGX’s leadership.

The AFE has revolutionised the institutional and technical aspects of Arab bourses by supporting their competitiveness and enhancing Arab intra-trade of securities as a key financing source for economic and social development, he noted.

The executive leaderships of Arab stock markets have shown great resilience in responding to market fluctuations caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic since the beginning of 2020, he pointed out.

The crisis has proved the strength and resilience of Arab bourses as trading has not been suspended and investors managed to enter and exit the market. The AFE has continued to activate communication channels between its members and international financial institutions to develop and improve the performance of the stock markets and listed companies, according to Farid.

In spite of the full or partial lockdown imposed in some Arab countries, most Arab bourses and clearing companies managed to resume their operations by using various technology systems such as electronic voting in general assemblies and board meetings which allowed all stakeholders of listed companies, investors, and securities brokerage companies to communicate remotely amid the pandemic. Thanks to these measures, trading levels at most stock markets rebounded to their pre-pandemic levels in the second half (H2) of 2020, the EGX Chairman noted.

During his leadership of the AFE, Farid has worked on coordinating with all parties to explore the possibility of integrating modern financial technologies with bourses and listed companies, especially the remote know your customer (KYC) process which, once activated, will facilitate any investment process carried out by any Arab citizen in any stock market exchange across the region.

This will also help expand the base of investors and boost liquidity in stock markets, Farid noted.

Since chairing the AFE in April 2019, Farid also worked on restructuring the federation in collaboration with the members and the secretary-general through introducing significant amendments to the statute and adopting a strategy that maintains the sustainability of activity development and stability.

During 2019 and 2020, the statute of AFE has been amended to allow the board of members to elect its members and appoint several committees on sustainability, auditing, and financial technology.

Electing the board of directors is an unprecedented strategic step in the institutional transformation process inside the federation that reflects the current management’s commitment towards the continuation of reformation and development.

As for new indices and financial products, AFE partnered with Refinitiv to launch the Refinitiv AFE Low Carbon Select Index in the MENA region.

The new index, a benchmark of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) indices, offers investors the opportunity to invest in companies that promote and invest in low carbon activities in the region

Moreover, AFE signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) to enhance the competitiveness of member exchanges and boost human capital. 

Another MoU was signed with the MENA Fintech Association (MFTA) to improve cooperation and empowerment of fintech in Arab capital markets.

It is worth noting that AFE Annual Conference Saudi 2021 is hosted by the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in partnership with the Arab Federation of Exchanges (AFE) on March 29-30 and that Mubasher is the Platinum Sponsor of the event.