The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, which has hit financial systems across Africa, is likely to deteriorate banks’ balance sheets. The largest threat to banks pertains to their loan portfolios, since many borrowers have faced a sharp collapse in their income, and therefore have difficulty repaying their obligations as they come due. This could lead to a sharp increase in nonperforming loans (NPLs) in the short to medium term.
The key objective of this note is to support authorities in their decision making about the optimal organization of central securities depositories (CSDs) in their country. For the purpose of this note, a CSD is defined as an entity that provides securities accounts, a securities settlement system, and central safekeeping services to market participants, which can be banks and other financial institutions. Authorities in developing markets, in particular central banks, may grapple with two questions: (1) whether to pursue a single CSD to increase market efficiencies and benefit from economies of scale and scope and (2) whether to partake in the governance of the CSD as owner or operator. This note presents seven considerations for authorities to take into account when answering these questions and determining the best model for their country.