KAMPALA, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Uganda’s biggest telecoms firm, a unit of South Africa’s MTN Group, has launched the East African country’s first mobile phone-based stocks trading platform, a senior executive said on Tuesday.
MTN Uganda has a subscriber base of about 15 million and also offers mobile financial services.
Users will access the shares trading service, which is offered in partnership with Uganda Securities Exchange (USE), through the financial platform, Stephen Mutana, the head of MTN Mobile Money in Uganda, told a news conference.
Customers will be able to open securities accounts, buy and sell shares, as well as transfer cash to stockbrokers straight from their mobile wallet, he said.
USE, which has 38,000 investors trading 17 stocks like Uganda’s biggest lender, Stanbic, and its main power firm, Umeme, expects the new mobile trading platform to attract more investors.
“Over probably the next couple of months we probably should be in hundreds of thousands of investors because we have made it easier for any Ugandan to open an account on the exchange,” said Paul Bwiso, the chief executive of USE.
MTN Uganda, which is preparing to list its shares on the USE through an initial public offering, is on course to meet a June 2022 deadline for the transaction, Mutana said.
The firm secured a 12-year renewal of its operating licence in June last year after paying $100 million and one of the conditions for extension of the licence was to list at least 20% of its equity on the stock exchange within two years.
The firm’s IPO is being closely watched by investors as it will potentially be the biggest in the country’s history and a major boost to the USE.
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Duncan Miriri and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)