Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, yesterday officially launched East Africa Exchange (EAX), at the 6th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit at Serena Hotel in Kigali.
The East Africa Exchange is a regional commodity exchange established to link smallholder farmers to agricultural and financial markets, to secure competitive prices for their products, and to facilitate access to financial opportunities.
Its initial target is to facilitate trade across all five East African Community member states. EAX is owned by Africa Exchange Holdings, Ltd (AFEX). In Rwanda, EAX is owned by local investment company, Ngali Holdings Ltd.
At a colourful event, President Kenyatta who is the sitting chairman of the East African Community, launched the project along with his EAC counterparts; Presidents Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, who also joined Rwandans today, to mark the Country’s 20th Liberation anniversary.
Present at the official launch of the project was Dr Jendayi Frazer, formerly the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, who is among three principal investors in EAX.
In an interview with Journalists, Dr. Frazer said that: “The EAX has the capacity to facilitate cross-border trading of commodities within the EAC, providing a central marketplace, connecting buyers and sellers throughout the region.
To be a true regional exchange we are also opening up for regional investors so we can become East-African owned.”
Dr. Frazer added that the EAX will link small-scale farmers in the East African community (EAC) to agricultural and financial markets so they can get competitive pricing for crops and access to finance.
According to a statement availed to Journalists shortly before the summit, “EAX will use NASDAQ’s OMX X-Stream trading platform for electronic trading and warehouse receipts so farmers can deposit their produce into EAX certified warehouses and access its services.”
Established by Tony O. Elumelu, CON, of Heirs Holdings, Nicolas Berggruen of Berggruen Holdings, Dr. Jendayi Frazer of 50 Ventures and Rwandan investment company Ngali Holdings, the EAX provides opportunities for faster and more inclusive African economic growth through intra-African trade formally unnoticed on this scale in the region.
It is expected that this the new investment wing will boost regional trade by increasing employment opportunities, accommodate a higher number of market participants and drive greater scale in terms of agricultural financing.
Nicolas Berggruen said at the summit that EAX is complementing the EAC’s goal of regional economic integration, and putting in place a world-class exchange to create a globally competitive market for Africa’s commodities.
In 2013, EAX became the first regional exchange to link smallholder farmers to agricultural and financial markets with competitive pricing.