* May initially be based in the Kenyan capital
* Sees banks and telecoms listing their shares
* Regional firms eyeing entry into Somalia
NAIROBI, Aug 8 (Reuters) - A Somali diplomat wants to start
the Horn of Africa's first ever stock exchange in neighbouring
Kenya and he expects telecom, banking and money transfer firms
that have defied decades of conflict to list their shares on the
"Somalis are very enterprising people ... and they want to
join other east Africans that have working stock exchanges,"
said Idd Mohamed, Ambassador extraordinary and deputy permanent
representative to the United Nations.
"Initially the exchange will be based in Nairobi, but if the
situation improves we could move it to Mogadishu."
Firms that have continued to thrive in Somalia include
Hormuud Telecom, a private company which is well known even
beyond Somali borders.
Mohamed, who founded the Somalia Stock Exchange Investment
Corporation (SSE) with others, said he expected the bourse to
attract both Somali-owned companies and international firms
wishing to invest in the largely Muslim country and help rebuild
He was speaking at the signing of an agreement with the
Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) for provision of expertise and
support in the formation and development of the SSE.
"We are happy to assist them as we have assisted other
countries like Rwanda. We hope we will be able to help them come
up with sharia compliant sukuk bonds and halal equities," said
Peter Mwangi, the chief executive of the NSE.
Islamic sharia law forbids investments that pay interest or
those made in certain companies such as brewers or gambling
Together with Somali government soldiers, African Union
troops who are battling the Islamist al Shabaab militants have
made significant progress over the past year, bringing in a
measure of normality to the capital and other parts of Somalia.
Those gains by the government and African forces, which
followed many hard battles, have prompted nations like Turkey to
re-open their embassies in Mogadishu.
Regional firms, including banks in east Africa's largest
economy Kenya, hope to follow in their footsteps when peace is
If those companies do eventually move in, they will join a
bunch of oil explorers, who are already active in the
semi-autonomous region of Puntland.
Somalia has no formal banking sector and its people rely
heavily on money transfers, estimated to be over $2 billion
annually, from diaspora communities in Europe, North America and
the United Arab Emirates.
(Reporting by Kevin Mwanza; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing
by Jon Loades-Carter)