Of the roughly 200 nations (both official and partially recognized) in the world, 40 of these countries have no stock exchanges. As frontier market investors with a focus on public equities, keeping an eye out on which countries are about to launch new stock exchanges is important as they usually represent promising investment opportunities. This is because stock exchanges require a great deal of capital, expertise, controls, and economic growth in order to survive, and a stock market launch is a promising sign that early economic challenges have been overcome. We could not find a definitive list of countries with no stock exchanges online, so we have compiled our own.

Here is a list of countries without stock exchanges (population over 1 million):

Country Name Region GDP/Capita Population
Angola Sub-Saharan Africa $       6,247 19,183,590
Burma Asia-Pacific $       1,740 60,380,000
Cuba Caribbean $       9,900 11,167,325
Democratic Republic of Congo Sub-Saharan Africa $       1,287 69,360,000
Eritrea Sub-Saharan Africa $         707    6,536,000
Ethiopia Sub-Saharan Africa $       1,366 87,952,991
Gambia Sub-Saharan Africa $       1,962    1,882,450
Guinea Sub-Saharan Africa $       1,125 10,628,972
Kosovo South Europe $       7,766    1,815,606
Lesotho Sub-Saharan Africa $       2,255    2,098,000
Liberia Sub-Saharan Africa $         703    4,397,000
Madagascar Sub-Saharan Africa $         970 21,263,403
Mauritania Sub-Saharan Africa $       2,218    3,461,041
North Korea Asia-Pacific $       1,800 25,027,000
Somalia Sub-Saharan Africa $         600 10,806,000
South Sudan Sub-Saharan Africa $       1,350 11,739,000
Tajikistan Central Asia $       2,354    8,160,000
Timor-Leste Asia-Pacific $       2,242    1,212,107
Turkmenistan Central Asia $       9,510    5,307,000
Yemen Middle East / North Africa $       2,316 25,235,000

GDP per capita is on a PPP basis and is as of 2013 from the IMF.

There are also 20 countries with a population under 1 million that do not have stock exchanges: Andorra, Belize, Brunei, Comoros, Djibouti, Kiribati, Macau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vatican City.

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Notable Countries With No Stock Exchanges:

Ethiopia

With a population of almost 90 million, Ethiopia is the biggest country in the world without a stock exchange. On the other hand, it is home to Africa’s first commodity exchange, the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), which began operations in 2008. The ECX was founded by economist Eleni Gabre-Madhin (read an interview with her here) and trades five commodities: coffee, sesame, haricot beans, maize, and wheat. While the National Bank of Ethiopia has done studies on the feasibility of a future stock exchange, nothing is planned yet.

Burma / Myanmar

While Burma currently has the Myanmar Securities Exchange Centre (MSEC), an exchange founded back in 1996, it had little IPO activity after it’s opening and is effectively dead. Fortunately, the government has enlisted Daiwa Securities Group and the Tokyo Stock Exchange to help them start a new exchange: the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSE). From the latest reports, it is currently slated to open in October 2015 with six companies interested in listing.

Angola

Angola has a sizable population and is one of the more developed countries on this list, so it is a surprise they lack a stock exchange given the number of smaller and less developed countries in Africa with exchanges of their own. Unfortunately, while an exchange has been discussed since 2002, the launch of the Angola Stock Exchange has been pushed back again to 2017. The culprit is poor financial statements, and it will take time for expertise and infrastructure to be in place.

Conclusion

These 40 countries represent the final frontier for investors, and we certainly expect the top 20 countries on this list to have stock exchanges one day. The biggest reason for the larger countries to not have stock exchanges is rule of law and prevalent corruption. This means that until their rankings improve on Transparency International’s reports and others like it, stock exchange launches will continue to be delayed.

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