As a number of new exchanges prepare to launch in Africa William Mitting asks if Africa could finally realise its potential as a futures trading hub.
the last true growth market in the world and is bursting with
potential. However, there have been many false dawns since the
continent threw off the shackles of colonialism in the mid
20th Century and it remains the least developed
habitable continent on earth.
Despite sub-Saharan Africa’s abundance of
natural resources, the region’s commodity markets
remain significantly under-developed and only one futures
market outside South Africa is currently trading. Of the five
commodity exchanges launched during the 1990s, only Safex in
South Africa succeeded. Despite early encouraging signs,
exchanges in Zambia and Zimbabwe failed in the wake of
government interventions and under-developed local markets.
But as with Africa as a whole, there is renewed optimism
about the development of commodity exchanges on the continent
and a flurry of new launches are aiming to right the wrongs of
the past and meet the anticipated growth of the economies in
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