The Gambia is the only country in West Africa without a stock market, dwarfing investment opportunities.
Mr Touray, the founder and chairman of Sahel Invest, has been co-opted into the task force setup by the government, through the ministry of finance to establish the much-awaited stock market.
“We are working diligently to make sure that before the end of 2015, The Gambia will have a stock exchange,” he said. “It is better late than never.”
According to him, the availability of a stock market would challenge the country’s economy to growth and development.
He added: “The Gambia is trying to attract foreign investors and any foreign investor going into any country asks ‘what is my exit strategy?’. The Gambia has been regarded as an entrepreneur economy. We buy and sell anything you can imagine. We are the supermarket of the sub-region and the most formidable instrument you have for accelerated economic growth and development is a stock market and we don’t have one.”
Mr Touray pointed out that the lack of a stock market has left the companies with no better option than to list on the stock market of other countries.
“In fact, all the companies that we have in The Gambia are listed on the stock exchange market of other countries,” he told The Standard. “The Gambian-owned Trust Bank is listed on the Ghana stock exchange. If I want to buy shares in Standard Chartered, I can go to the London Stock Exchange. But I cannot buy shares from home.”
The development economist said with the stock market, start-ups and established businesses will also have capital to invest without going for bank loans.
As he explained: “Most companies will go to the stock exchange and do what they called ‘an initial public offering’. You go to people and give them what your business ideas are and they buy shares if it impresses them. You then sign a share certificate with them and move on to another person. So by the time you are ready, you have collected enough equity and you don’t have to pay a loan because you have shareholders who buy into your ideas.”
He added: “We have some Gambians in the Diaspora coming back and starting business operation here. The Gambia is the most strategic of all the nations in the world. If you look at the map of the world, we are five hours to London, four to Brazil and about six hours to New York. The same is true of our location with other countries in the sub-region. We have a strategic location for business in the country.”]]>