Peter T. Grauer on Bloomberg's Commitment to Africa

Apr 14, 2015 8:45 AM ET

Originally posted on Bloomberg Now.

On April 8, Peter T. Grauer spoke at a Meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, emphasizing Bloomberg’s commitment to the region. Grauer announced the establishment of a grant to the Financial Services Volunteer Corps and reinforced our continuing commitment to providing training via our terminal to African central bankers, securities regulators, and the private sector. He also announced that Bloomberg will host a business and economic summit in Africa in early 2016.

His full remarks below:

Thank you Ed, Secretary Pritzker, the Department of Commerce and Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee, and Council members for your continued dedication to Africa and your commitment to developing trade and investment strategies on the continent.

As you know, Africa has developed into a global economic force and Bloomberg is fully committed to an advanced economic partnership between the U.S. and Africa. We have 8 physical offices in 6 countries in Africa, but our presence extends to more than 45 countries – employing over a 160 people on our payroll and another 200 people as stringers producing content for our Bloomberg news service. We are growing and will continue to grow and invest for the future. We work closely with Africa’s financial institutions, private companies, and central bankers to help them maximize efficiency, mitigate risk and increase capital flows. This helps the local financial markets and helps attract more foreign investment.

Bloomberg is currently working on several securities market development initiatives in Africa. For example, we collaborated with a local regulator in Nigeria to create a Nigerian bond trading platform and market surveillance system to bring a more transparent, liquid and efficient bond market to Nigeria. We also recently collaborated with the African Development Bank to create an African Bond Index. We saw a clear need for a transparent and objective benchmark for sovereign debt in Africa.

Consistent with Bloomberg’s efforts to strengthen Africa’s financial markets, I am pleased to offer a recommendation for our subcommittee that is focused on attracting investment and access to capital by making Africa’s capital markets more robust. Africa’s capital markets are undergoing significant change that, over time, will facilitate an increased interest in the trading of all types of financial instruments throughout the continent. Africa’s Securities Commissions and exchanges are increasingly requesting the expertise of public and private sector experts with securities market development issues. African securities markets range from very developed to nascent with no legislative or regulatory frameworks in place.

To that end, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has a technical assistance program that utilizes SEC and industry officials, as well as other seasoned practitioners, to provide training and capacity building to regulatory officials all over the world.

However, the program is very limited on resources and essentially has no funding. This is why we recommend that the U.S. government and private sector explore ways to provide the program with the funding necessary to be successful throughout the African continent. We also recommend private sector participation in training to bolster these markets and provide expertise necessary for development of trading infrastructure.

To advance these goals and show our commitment to developing capital markets, it is my pleasure to announce this morning that Bloomberg is establishing a grant to the Financial Services Volunteer Corps to sponsor a technical assistance program in Africa. The FSVC is a not-for-profit, private-public partnership that helps to build sound financial systems in emerging market countries. This grant will fund a training and capacity building program on the continent in an effort to strengthen securities markets. The new initiative will have a positive impact on investment opportunities and African governments alike.

In addition to funding the grant, we will continue our commitment at Bloomberg to providing training via our terminal to African central bankers, securities regulators, and the private sector, and we will also continue developing trading infrastructure. Similarly, I would like to encourage other companies to share their expertise with those on the continent as well.

Finally, I am delighted to announce that Bloomberg has committed to hosting a business and economic summit in Africa in early 2016. The summit, tapping Bloomberg’s editorial and analytical resources on the continent and beyond, will convene top executives and policy makers for a deeper look at Africa’s domestic economies and an exploration of their roles in changing the global economy. Bloomberg journalists will lead conversations focused on issues including energy, technology, infrastructure, the opportunities and risks of doing business in the region, and strengthening of Africa’s capital markets. Thank you.