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The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) will next month hold an inaugural listings conference that is aimed at sensetising privately held firms on the benefits of going public.


The conference, which has attracted 120 private companies, intends to bring together the business community, private and listed companies, and experts in the capital market to discuss the value added by listing on the stock exchange.


The one-day conference will be held under the theme: ‘Opening the BSE to the Business Community - Creating Value Through Listing.’ Briefing the media on Wednesday, BSE CEO Thapelo Tsheole said the conference will be a historic event in the development of capital markets, not only because of its magnitude but primarily because of its objectives and expected outcomes.


“We are looking to incubate companies that can potentially list in the short, medium to long term. We want to avail to them the necessary expertise and conduits that can help them list on the BSE in the near term, medium term and in the long term.” he said.


According to Tsheole, the conference also intends to avail platform for listed companies to share lessons on how they created value through listing and how they leveraged on their listing to expand their services and products offerings to markets outside Botswana.


“Companies on the BSE have demonstrated that business opportunities are not defined by geographic boundaries as they have grown tremendously beyond Botswana into sub-Saharan Africa. They have explored the benefits and have set tangible examples for the rest of the domestic business sector,” he added.


Tsheole further explained that the BSE has helped some companies to grow and attract investors which resulted in them de-listing while he said some unfortunately de-list because they are not doing well. For his part Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Botswana Coverage Director, Boiki Tema said they found it fit to be part of the conference as they believe their capabilities will benefit the attendees.


“The growth of the BSE has been quite a story to tell, it continues to attract interest in Africa. We on the other hand have the capabilities locally and internationally that can help the local market penetrate into these markets,” said Tema.


Since inception in 1989, the BSE has grown modestly from five listed companies to 35 listed companies, 38 listed debt securities and four exchange traded funds as at December 2015. The BSE performed well in 2015 at a time when most emerging markets were bearish due to a slump in commodity prices, exchange rate volatilities and overall economic slowdown.


The mainstream Domestic Companies Index (DCI) firmed 11.6 percent in 2015 in comparison to growth of five percent in 2014.


During 2015, 803 million shares were traded yielding a record P3 billion in turnover. This was the highest amount ever recorded in the history of the BSE and it overshadows the last previous record of P2.3 billion in 2013, whose closest comparative was the P2.2 billion in 2014.