By Nkiruka Nnorom
INVESTORS across Africa will soon be saved the hassle of travelling long distances to attend Annual General Meeting (AGMs) of their companies as a platform that will enable them to attend general meetings electronically and also vote real-time will soon be launched by Africlear Global.
Africlear Global is an institution founded by Nigeria’s Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, African Development Bank (AfDB), Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC) Kenya, and Altree Financial Group for the purpose of improving African securities market infrastructure by providing central securities depositories (CSDs) with the ability to offer a greater menu of value-added services while reducing the underlying costs associated with system acquisition and maintenance.
When operational, the device will also allow investors to appoint proxy, attend concurrent meetings, ask questions and express opinions among other numerous functions.
Africlear member institutions disclosed the plan at the end of their Board meeting in Lagos.
Africlear Chairman and Chief Executive, CDSC, Kenya, Rose Mambo, said the platform will enable issuers to make convocations, announce agendas, share documents and more effectively control the meeting process. She added that the electronic general meeting platform will improve financial inclusion for shareholders while reducing issuer costs by leveraging operating efficiencies.
“Typically, we find that companies operating in Africa have very low attendance at their general meetings as investors are reluctant to travel from far parts of the country. With the electronic general meeting solution, investors can vote, participate, or just watch the proceedings without physically being present”, said Ms. Mambo.
Speaking further on the initiatives, MD/CEO, CSCS Plc, Kyari Bukar, said Africlear will not only enhance financial inclusion, but also improve market integration through collaborative approaches designed to harmonize post-trade processes and procedures.
According to Kyari, “by aligning a central security depository’s interests with those of the underlying technology provider, Africlear is changing the way African CSDs do business.” He added that “Africlear will enable us to move up the value chain, offer new services and establish links to new markets, both domestic and international.”
Africlear also announced that it intends to facilitate connectivity between CDSC Kenya and CSCS Plc, and plans are in place to link transaction management processes between the two depositories. “By linking the clearing and settlement functions for CDSC Kenya and CSCS Nigeria, Africlear will dramatically improve the ability for investors to transact both within and across borders,” said Ms. Mambo.
She added, “With the support of the AfDB, discussions have commenced with the goal of developing a fully integrated post-trade environment for cross-border clearing and settlement of capital market transactions.”
Ms. Stella Kilonzo, Financial Markets Division Chief at the AfDB said “Africlear is at the forefront of securities market infrastructure development in Africa. The company is building links between African CSDs that will enable investors to transact in one country and settle in another.”