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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Technology byte by byte in Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange

8th August 2012
Technology is becoming the navigation bar to every facet of our lives

We are currently immersed in the digital era; technology is becoming the navigation bar to every facet of our lives. Businesses, society, and individuals are embracing this new world that we seem to be streaming into with a thirst that can not be quenched quick enough.

The ability to exchange information, connect with the world wide audience effectively fast, along with networking is shaping our modern society. Like wise byte by byte Tanzania is transitioning into the digital age. We see this in our increased online content: mainstream media, social media and e-commerce.

The stock market is no exception it is shaped by the day’s information and digital age. The Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (winner of The Best Sustainable Stock Exchange of the Year 2011, Africa" by the World Finance ) not one to twiddle their thumbs have joined nine other stock exchanges in the Southern African Development (SADC) to adopt a digital platform. This will hopefully increase productivity and efficiency for smooth functioning and growth of market operations in completing cross border transactions.

Technology is opening doors and is the basis for changes in investor behavior and expectations. Considering the number of companies in Dar es Salaam there aren’t anywhere as many listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.

Through meticulous planning and a well thought out implementation of the process, there are numerous benefits to listing your company on the stock exchange. For example, it creates a market for the company’s shares enhancing the status and financial standing of your company.

You increase market exposure, public awareness and interest in the company along with your services and products. It boosts the companies’ corporate profile as there will be an added element of trust and credibility.

This in turn increases liquidity and valuation of the business. It also provides the company with an opportunity to implement share option schemes for their employees and another attractive key reason is the company attracts international investors to name but a few.

For every positive outcome there are shortcomings. These snags are not so much for the public and should not really be seen as stumbling blocks but additional obligations for the companies and their governing bodies - directors etc.

Going public would mean additional reporting conditions such as increasing accountability and transparency to public shareholders - preparing comprehensive audited financial statements, annual reports etc. Observing and adhering to the rules and regulations by governing bodies, maintaining dividend and profit growth trends.

One would also incur a loss of privacy as a result of media interest - having to disclose details regarding compensation of officers, directors, gross profits, net income etc. You know how the media loves to hover and feed a good corporate scandal, loss of shares, market plunges etc. to the public. Humm on a side note - perhaps these are some of the reasons more companies are not listed on Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange?

Taking all this in stride and with the adoption of the digital platform by the ten stock exchanges of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) the sky could be the limit for your companies, investors, and prospective shareholders. Going public is not an easy task but the Committee of the SADC stock exchanges (CoSSE) is using technology to support development of regional systems.

This will increase trade effectiveness, organizing training courses, and supporting members in enhancing their websites to ensure trading data and company news are circulated globally.

Though Africa’s economy faces momentous challenges such as poverty, high infant mortality, disease, corruption etc, our continent is among the world’s rapidly growing economies. Africans are getting more involved and we are aware and interested in each other. Our economies are moving towards integration.

According to the Ernest and Young survey, Africa received its largest share of global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) last year. FDI projects grew by 27 percent in 2011. Tanzania was amongst the countries that attracted high FDI inflows.

The stock exchange driven by technology has drifted to computer based platforms. Let us continue to improve operations, raise collaboration amongst our neighbouring countries and make our markets attractive to regional and international investors, to aid in the growth and sustenance of our country.

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