Listed equity performance over the last five years, based on US dollar returns of the major African markets, highlight significant differences in performance. From 2014 to mid-2016 African stock markets failed to grow, largely due to decreasing commodity prices and a flight to safety from global investors. In 2015 the region saw the lowest recorded growth rate since 1998. The last quarter of 2016 heralded in the start of the African equity recovery.
Kenya stands out as Africa’s overall winner
Kenya stands out as Africa’s overall winner. The country’s relative immunity to the commodity cycle, business-friendly environment and the continued integration of the East African Union, has resulted in relatively high levels of investor confidence when compared to other regions in the continent. These returns, however, still only represent a compounded annual return of 10% in US dollar terms.
While the other exchanges on the continent currently have recovered their pre-commodity crisis value, the Nigerian exchange still lags behind. The relative severity and longer lasting impact of the crisis on the Nigerian economy, as well as concerns of the lack of structural reform in the economy has kept asset prices depressed.
The MSCI Emerging Frontier Markets Africa Ex South Africa Index and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index share a similar methodology and therefore offer a like-for-like comparison as proxies for Africa and global emerging markets.