Africa
Building a prosperous future for the continent

Africa at a glance

1938
African Explosives & Industries became the first African firm to list on London Stock Exchange
122
African firms with over £143bn aggregate market cap are currently listed or trading in London
£16.6bn
total equity capital raised by African corporates on London Stock Exchange since 2008
£50.3bn
total debt capital raised by African corporates and sovereigns on London Stock Exchange since 2008

A relationship dating back nine decades

The strong relationship between London Stock Exchange Group and Africa dates back over several decades. The first African company that listed its shares in London in the 1930s was African Explosives & Industries, which made blasting explosives and detonators for the gold and diamond mining industries in South Africa. Headquartered in South Africa and now known as AECI, it is still listed in London today and worth over £639m.

Many more African companies have made the same journey to London since then. In total, there are 122 African or Africa-focussed corporates currently listed or trading in London, more than on any other international exchange.  These companies span a wide range of sectors and sizes and have chosen to list shares or depositary receipts.  At over £143bn, the collective worth of African companies on the London market is second only to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

London Stock Exchange is also the home for African debt listings, with over 50 active bonds from 18 Issuers, in a wide variety of products. Currently, 81% of these bonds are issued by sovereigns, 16% by financial industry, and the remaining 3% by industrial companies. Some of the standout recent issuances in 2020 include: 

  • Standard Bank of South Africa became the first Issuer from South Africa to issue an offshore green bond, which raised £154m.
  • Acorn Holdings became the first Kenyan Issuer to list a green bond, which raised £12m.
  • Republic of Ghana issued a £2.3bn issuance across three tranches.

Close collaboration

LSEG works closely with the major African exchanges, providing trading, surveillance and depository software. LSEG Technology’s capital markets solutions, which underpin London Stock Exchange’s own trading and surveillance platforms, are used by 10 African exchanges including Africa’s largest, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, as well as Botswana Stock Exchange and Casablanca Stock Exchange, to name a few.

London Stock Exchange has partnered with a number of these exchanges to enable dual-listings for companies looking to simultaneously list shares in both Africa and London. Utilising a unique cross-border settlement system, Nigerian oil and gas exploration firm Seplat is one such business. Seplat was admitted to London Stock Exchange and The Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2014, raising £323m at IPO to further fund the company’s expansion.

In June 2019, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services in 14 African countries, Airtel Africa Plc, also realised a simultaneous dual listing between London and Nigeria. The IPO raised £541m with 100% of proceeds attributed to the company. 

A similar relationship exists with Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). In May 2018, Vivo Energy joined London Stock Exchange and realised an inward listing on JSE. A list of LSE-JSE dual-listed companies also includes global titans such as BHP Group, British American Tobacco, Glencore and Anglo American. 

Index inclusion

LSEG’s FTSE Russell benchmarking business has long-standing relationships in Africa, having worked with Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to calculate the widely used domestic FTSE JSE Index Series since 2002. More recently, FTSE Russell collaborated with the Casablanca Stock Exchange, Nairobi Securities Exchange and Namibian Stock Exchange to launch tradable domestic indexes. Launching these index series were significant achievements for these countries, enabling greater transparency and investor participation in these markets.

Working with ASEA (African Securities Exchanges Association), FTSE Russell has also created the FTSE ASEA Pan Africa Index Series, representing performance of eligible securities listed on member exchanges and suitable for benchmarking purposes.

The FTSE Russell Country Classification committee continues to engage with many African countries around their inclusion within FTSE Russell’s Global Equity Index Series. Currently eight African countries are classified as either Emerging or Frontier markets as of March 2019.

In February 2020, FTSE Russell launched the FTSE UK Listed Africa Index, featuring 65 London-listed companies with a combined market cap of £105bn as the first constituents of this pioneering index. The index is intended to facilitate greater international investment into African companies and has been designed to provide a foundation for index tracking funds and derivatives.

ELITE

LSEG’s business growth programme, ELITE, is focused on supporting the most exciting and ambitious private companies achieve their growth potential by helping them access the know-how, network, and capital they need. Since 2012, more than 1,200 companies have joined ELITE from 43 countries.

In April 2016, ELITE was successfully launched in Morocco with Casablanca Stock Exchange. This was the first launch of ELITE in partnership with another exchange outside Europe. To date, 83 companies have joined ELITE Morocco.

Following the success of ELITE in Morocco, the Casablanca Stock Exchange launched ELITE in West Africa, in partnership with Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM). BRVM, based in Côte d'Ivoire, is the stock exchange for the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). To date, 30 companies from seven countries across UEMOA, have joined ELITE BRVM.

Strong support for African economies

To support this evolution, in March 2016, LSEG brought together a dozen highly regarded business leaders, policymakers and investors from across the African continent to form an Africa Advisory Group. This group acts as a forum to discuss the development of Africa’s capital markets and how best to address the challenges and opportunities which this presents. In November 2018, the Group launched a series of reports which put forward recommendations on how African capital markets could be further developed to increase global investment flows into Africa, covering offshore local currency bond markets, corporate information dissemination, SME financing, attracting passive investment flows, and the green bond market.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of African economies. They play an essential role in developing skills, jobs, wealth and ultimately driving economic growth. Developing an effective financial markets infrastructure to boost the economy is the best way to achieve this growth potential and LSEG is firmly committed to working towards this goal.
With this in mind, in January 2019, LSEG launched the second edition of Companies to Inspire Africa – a report that aims to bring much needed visibility to private high-growth companies across the continent. The report showcases the vast investment opportunities and strongest microeconomic stories to an international audience. The 2019 report highlights 360 companies from 32 different countries across Africa from a range of sectors, from renewables to technology and telecoms. We have already seen companies featured in the Companies to Inspire Africa reports realise significant progress and we have tracked these achievements in our One Year On report, highlighting milestones such as IPOs and bond issuances to finance growth, as well as cross-border expansion, both within the African continent and globally. The 2019 One Year On report featured 85 companies, with highlights including 28 companies raising a combined £1.1bn in additional financing in 2019, such as Helios Towers’ successful IPO on LSE and Acorn’s green Kenyan shilling bond listed on both Nairobi Securities Exchange and LSE.

Find out about companies we have welcomed to our markets

London Stock Exchange Group Welcomes Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, celebrating partnership with LSEG

London, United Kingdom, 22 January 2020 – Don Robert, Chairman of London Stock Exchange Group welcomed the president of the African Development Bank to open markets for trading at London Stock Exchange on Wednesday 22 January.

The reception in London followed the African Development Bank’s Africa Investment Forum, the Bank’s innovative market-place for accelerating investment into the

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London Stock Exchange welcomes His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, Edward Kirathe, CEO of Acorn Holdings Ltd and the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP celebrating Acorn Holdings Ltd green bond issuance

Acorn Holdings Ltd. (Acorn), the largest Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) property developer in Kenya, has dual-listed its KES 4.3 billion green bond programme, on the International Securities Market (ISM) of London Stock Exchange.

To celebrate the Acorn bond programme listing, David Schwimmer, CEO of London Stock Exchange Group, welcomed H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta of Ken

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London Stock Exchange Welcomes Helios Towers plc

Helios Towers plc, a leading Sub-Saharan independent tower Company, was today welcomed to the London Stock Exchange on its successful admission to the premium listing segment of the Official List.

Formed in 2009 with a vision of becoming a major infrastructure player in the burgeoning mobile markets of Africa, Helios Towers plc now owns and operates c7000 telecommunications tower

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Meet the team

Tom Attenborough

Head of International Business Development, Primary Markets, London Stock Exchange, plc

                                                                    

Gokul Mani

Head of Middle East, Africa, India, Primary Markets, London Stock Exchange plc

                                                           

Opedimeji Sule

Africa Business Development Manager, Primary Markets, London Stock Exchange plc

                                  

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