The Douala Stock Exchange was created in December 2001. The first listing was Société des Eaux Minérales du Cameroun (SEMC), a subsidiary of the French company Castel Group. Cameroonians are still to make use of the Douala Stock Exchange. What is the problem? Are Cameroonians not sensitised enough? Are Cameroonians and foreign investors not interested? These are some of the concerns revolving around the Douala Stock Exchange.
According to an interview accorded by Kimeng Hilton Ndukong to financial expert,Lamngwa Brezhnev, in Cameroon Tribune dated the 06 of November 2012, there are many reasons why Douala’s Stock Exchange remains dormant. First of all there is still a poor comprehension of the financial market in Cameroon, and most especially the stock exchange. Cameroonians do not understand how the Douala Stock Exchange will help them.
Secondly,many business operators still remain skeptical about enlisting their company on the Douala Stock Exchange. According to Dr Simon Bassilekin in another article in Cameroon Tribune, dated the 6 of November 2012, this is so because the Douala Stock Exchange is still seriously controlled by the state. Cameroonians do not trust the state in monitoring their shares.
Certain measures need to be put in place to make the Douala Stock Exchange useful. There is need for the state to sensitise the public about the importance and benefits of the stock exchange. The state can organise radio and television programs to educate the popualce about the Stock Exchange. Lessons on the Stock Exchange can also be introduced in schools in Cameroon so as to enable young Cameroonians develope an understanding of this institution. If this is not done, it will be easy for Cameroonians to understand what the Stock Exchange is all about. Nigeria’s Stock Exchange is doing well partly because of sensitisation.
The state needs to partner with the private sector to manage the affairs of the Stock Exchange. This will reduce the fears haboured in the minds and hearts of the population about investing in the Douala Stock Exchange.
There is also need for a non partisan special body to be created which should be incharge of putting in place the conditions for registering capital market operators like investment advisers, stock brokers,issuing houses,mutual funds and financial consultants.
All hope should not be lost by national and foreign investors in the Douala Stock Exchange. If some of the above mentioned proposals are put in place, more people will be encouraged to register their businesses with the Douala Stock Exchange.