By Muluken Yewondwossen
In Capital Newspaper, Tuesday, 15 November 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange has been so successful trading produces like coffee, sesame, peas and beans that many other African countries want to model the way they have modernized trading and increased the income of their farmers.
Eugene Owusu, UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative said that ECX was blazing a trail when it comes to commodity exchange in Africa and there is a groundswell of interest across the continent to set up commodity exchanges, learning from the Ethiopian model.
The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have organized a conference from 8-9 November, to encourage an Africa wide commodity exchange as well as more exchanges in African nations.
Eleni Gebre-Medhin (PhD), CEO of ECX said hosting this historic conference will help the continent and allow experts in the field to share their experience.
Eleni told journalists that after other countries establish strong commodity exchange markets a content wide market will soon follow.
The organizers stated that the ultimate objective is to achieve a common African position between policy makers and the business community on how best the potential of commodity exchanges can be utilized and create prosperity for Africa.
Owusu said commodity exchanges can foster development and reduce poverty. “It is all about transformation through a development lens,” he said.
According to the organizers, the conference talked about innovative market instruments which have the potential to transform African commodities into tradable assets.
The two day conference held at the Sheraton Addis focused on the African perspectives and issues in starting commodity exchanges. High profile African policymakers and business people attended the panel discussions which addressed challenges of beginning exchanges in African nations.
African exchange initiatives, market regulators like the US Securities and Exchanges Commission, banks, farmer organizations and development institutions attended.