The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) regional securities market saw increasing activity in the last decade, but still fell short of supplying sufficient long-term financing for growth-enhancing public and private investment projects. In addition to providing an institutional background, this paper studies recent developments and the determinants of interest rates on the market—using yield curve and principal component analyses. It also identifies challenges and prospective reforms that could help the region reap the full benefits of a more dynamic securities market and assesses the potential systemic risk the market may pose for the region’s banking system.
This study assesses the degree of financial integration in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). The structure of the financial sector and its institutional arrangements indicate that financial integration is well advanced in some aspects. Common and foreign ownership of banks is very high and cross-border transactions are frequent in the government securities markets. Common institutions help achieve a high degree of similarity of rules. There is nonetheless scope for further financial integration as indicated by persistent deviations from the law of one price, limited cross-border bank transactions, and differences in treatment. Policy measures could therefore help achieve greater financial convergence.