Last week, the leaders of 53 independent member countries of the Commonwealth met in London to address key global challenges and work together for a more prosperous, secure, sustainable and fair future of its 2.4 billion citizens.
London is the financial centre for the Commonwealth, and London’s role will be even more significant in the years ahead as we strengthen these historical relationships. And London Stock Exchange Group, as throughout its 300 year history, remains committed to its core purpose - providing access to sources of equity and debt finance for companies of all sizes from all over the world.
It was a fantastic week at London Stock Exchange, celebrating the Commonwealth as part of CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting), welcoming leaders from around the world. We celebrated partnerships with some of the smallest members of the Commonwealth through to the largest ones. Commonwealth shared values should help progress the causes of the future, supporting young people and tackling challenges such as climate changes and building democratic norms.
On Monday, we hosted a partnership agreement between the UK and the International Solar Alliance (ISA), a UN sponsored body to support renewable energy targets across the world. They estimate a need of financing over $1000bn by 2030 and India, in particular, is taking the lead, financing several billion through green bonds in London in recent years.
On Tuesday, we greeted His Excellency Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, President of Kenya and his delegation, together with The Rt Honourable Penny Mordaunt MP, to open trading on Tuesday.
Kenya listed its most recent sovereign bond on London Stock Exchange, which was seven times oversubscribed.
The morning was a celebration of the close relationship between Kenya and the UK, with ELITE, London Stock Exchange Group’s capital raising programme for high growth firms, the Nairobi Securities Exchange, and Financial Sector Development, Africa, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to support Kenyan SMEs at an early stage, in governance, transparency and operational best practices.
The partnership was praised by International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, as “a way to defeat poverty, boost trade and investment, and deliver on the ambitions of countries that want to stand on their own two feet.”
And with the Kenyan Ministry of Energy & Petroleum, we recently signed an MoU to support capital raising for state-owned companies.
On the same day, with the support from the British Government, and in partnership with PwC, we launched the report, ‘Companies to Inspire Africa, One year later’, which features 100 African companies that raised capital or announced a significant corporate development in the last year.
The week continued, as we crossed the Indian Ocean, with Fiji’s first international sovereign green bond, which started traded on London Stock Exchange’s International Securities Market on Wednesday. We were pleased to welcome The Hon Prime Minister of Fiji and President of COP23, the international climate change conference, Frank Bainimarama, and the UK Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Claire Perry, to open the market. The issuer represents the first from an emerging economy. The significance of this listing can not be overstated and highlights how Fiji is leading the way in providing innovative solutions to overcome the problems inflicted on island states by climate
From the blue waters of Fiji to the colourful skies of Nigeria on Thursday, when we welcomed Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, the Honourable Okechukwu Enelamah, and Minister of State for Trade Policy, The Right Honourable Greg Hands MP to open trading.
With nine Nigerian companies listed on our markets with a market cap of $6.5bn, London Stock Exchange is proud of the relationships with companies active in Nigeria, stretching back many years.
We recently supported Nigeria’s $2.5bn Eurobond programme issued in February this year, for infrastructure investment, followed by the landmark Diaspora Bond issued in June 2017, raising $300m. In partnership with the Nigerian Stock Exchange, these bonds are also listed in Nigeria, as part of the two exchange’s commitment to dual listings. We look forward to forging new trade and investment ties at the heart of the Nigeria-UK relationship.
London channels investment across the Commonwealth into large and small companies; supports governments in harnessing international investment for infrastructure and green growth, and provides technology to exchanges across Africa, India and beyond.
International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, highlighted the pivotal role that financial markets play in supporting prosperity and growth across the Commonwealth, “opening the door to a future free from aid dependency by building partnerships, sharing knowledge and opening up markets across the Commonwealth”.
The UK capital continues to flourish as an international financial centre, open for business. A globally trusted regulatory and legal framework, the most internationally diverse, deep and liquid pool of capital, and a proven ability to constantly be at the forefront of financial innovation, make London and the UK ,the ideal home for companies and investors worldwide.