Standard Bank Drives Deepening of Africa’s Capital Markets
by Rob Porter, Head of Flow Sales, Global Markets Division, Standard Bank and Themba Rikhotso, Head of Sales, Transactional Products and Services (TPS), Standard Bank
Managing in excess of USD1tr in trade flows each year, Standard Bank is Africa’s largest supplier of liquidity in local currencies. As such, Standard Bank’s efforts to deepen African capital markets are recognised by policymakers on the continent beyond the 20 African markets in which the bank has a presence.
“Standard Bank is relentless in providing support to our businesses with a view to improving liquidity and drive growth across the African continent,” says Rob Porter, Head of Flow Sales, Global Markets Division, Standard Bank.
At Standard Bank there is a visible excitement about Africa’s huge potential. The bank’s success in Africa as well as its historical and deepening commitment to the continent - especially in these changing times when other global players are reducing their commitment to Africa - attracts people who are passionate about realising the incredible opportunity that this continent offers, Porter explains.
This places Standard Bank in a unique position to materially improve the infrastructure of finance by deepening the liquidity of bond and forex markets. “We do this by importing good infrastructure intelligence into markets while also recognising and growing the many pockets of domestic excellence increasingly emerging across the continent,” he says.
That said, illiquidity is impossible to solve quickly. It is also certainly not something that can be achieved by good corporate treasury management alone. Instead, “the evolution of capital friendly macro-economic policy, consistently and transparently applied over time is what the ratings agencies view to provide the grades that give comfort to long term capital commitment,” Porter advises.
Kenya: a good example of how to get it right.
While the country has had a long evolution towards a floating currency, the central bank nonetheless managed to resist intermediation during volatile periods. This grew the trust of investors, earned the respect of ratings agencies, and, ultimately, attracted the capital flows. These regular and sustained flows provide Kenya today, with greater liquidity, equipping its central bank to manage volatility without intermediation. The Kenyan shilling in 2016 is a story of stability.