The East African Securities Regulatory Authorities (EASRA) has called for the expansion of its membership to include countries that have not yet joined.

EASRA wants newly admitted members such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan to be included in the membership.

Keith Kalyegira, the chairman of EASRA, said by expanding its membership, they will be able to solidify regional strategies that will boost capital markets in EAC.

“We are committed to extending a formal invitation to DRC and South Sudan to join EASRA, which will further solidify regional and country-specific strategies aimed at enhancing East Africa’s capital markets industry,” said Mr Kalyegira.

Mr Kalyegira was speaking during the 52nd Consultative Committee meeting of the group at the Royal Suites Bugolobi in Kampala.The gathering brought together regulatory representatives from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

Various subcommittees representing different East African countries, such as those focused on Market Development, Market Supervision, and Legal Affairs, engaged in extensive deliberations on critical subjects.

These encompassed regulatory sandboxes, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, and regulations related to Private Equity & Venture Capital, Crowdfunding, and Islamic financing.

A particular spotlight was placed on the facilitation of financing for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

The participants also agreed to create another EASRA Strategic Plan, focusing on fostering the development of an integrated East African capital market.

This vision would be realised through advocacy, innovation, capacity building, regulatory harmonization, and knowledge sharing. The goal is to establish the EAC capital market as a respected platform for mobilizing long-term capital to drive economic development.

This Strategic Plan would also provide a roadmap for EASRA members in the region, who also acknowledged the progress made by Burundi in establishing their capital markets.

Recognising the importance of green finance, EASRA reiterated its commitment to adopting the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) standards, S1 and S2.

Wycliffe Shamiah, CEO of CMA Kenya, called upon EASRA members to collaborate with accounting professionals and standard-setting bodies in their respective countries to harmonise and promote these standards while also conducting awareness and sensitisation campaigns.

The CEO of CMSA Tanzania highlighted the critical role of robust legal frameworks in supporting SMEs and the significant improvements seen in this sector.

Furthermore, there was a strong call for harmonized regulations in Islamic financing and crowdfunding, emphasizing the utilization of country-specific legal frameworks to conclusively address any challenges.

CMA Rwanda drew attention to the Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) legal framework, which allows for various types of CIS formations, including Partnerships, Companies, Trusts, and contractual schemes. This diversification strengthens the available pool of savings for investment in the economy.

The gathering stressed the importance of cross-border information sharing to enable enforcement actions, aligning with the emphasis placed on information sharing among members of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) multilateral memorandum of understanding (MMOU).