South Africa May Soon Have Four Stock Exchanges

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

South Africa could soon have three more stock exchanges competing with the continent’s largest bourse, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), after the country issued its first operating license in more than a century to the ZAR X Stock Exchange in March and plans to issue two more.

According to a Quartz Africa report, two more exchanges, 4AX and A2X, are awaiting certification from the regulator.

Unlike JSE, which has a market capitalization of over $150 billion, the ZAR X and 4AX platforms will focus on low-trading and moderate compliance processes to give more black-owned businesses access to the stock exchange.

“The platform is designed to empower those who don’t have skills or experience in investing to easily and safely build a brighter financial future for themselves,” said ZAR X.

A2X said it is targeting the top 50 to 65 largest companies already listed on the JSE.

While the Johannesburg bourse is the oldest surviving exchange in the Africa’s second largest economy, it is not the only one that has ever existed in the country.

According to The Conversation, the first ever stock exchange to be established in south Africa was the Kimberly Royal Stock Exchange, which was opened on Feb 2 1881 in the wake of the diamond rush.

“The Kimberley stock exchange closed as Johannesburg and the JSE grew in economic importance,” economist Jannie Rossouw wrote in The Conversation.

“Another local operation was opened in the north-eastern town of Barberton following the 1880s gold rush in the region. This exchange closed when gold mining activities in the region waned.”

There was even a stock exchange in Cape Town that was established in May 1901 in response to trading disruptions during the Anglo-Boer War. The exchange was shut down a year later when the war ended.