A deep horn blast was used in a slice of history at Africa’s biggest stock exchange. It was from the lungs of Rakesh Wahi, founder and vice chairman of Africa Business News (ABN), signaling the opening of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), as CNBC Africa crossed a new frontier in business broadcasting on the continent.
CNBC Africa – the sister of FORBES AFRICA in the ABN stable – became the first African broadcaster to beam shows from the JSE. It came on the eve of the company’s seventh anniversary.
“It’s an exciting time; I haven’t stopped smiling since yesterday. It is to the credit of the people around you who have all done a fantastic job,” says Wahi.
CNBC Africa is emulating the example of CNBC in the United States (US), which has broadcast from the New York Stock Exchange since 1995. This move is all part of a bigger plan.
“Our vision is to be in all 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We have to be in all the major exchanges and report from the smaller ones. We need to be able to integrate all these exchanges through information flows. We need to be able to go out and educate people about what markets are,” says Wahi.
The new studio is state of the art. It includes an eight cube video wall, six interview positions and robotic cameras – which will be fully controlled out of the gallery and will minimize additional camera crew. The main anchor desk, resembling a star, is a copy of the one used both in Europe and the US.
It will host Open Exchange, Power Lunch and Closing Bell, with regular crossings to Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Mauritius, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia, Rwanda, Mozambique, Botswana, Gabon and Ghana.
Jean Landsberg, the head of technical and operations for the ABN Group, traveled to New York and Singapore to check out the latest technology.
“When I traveled to the SGX in Singapore and New York, I got an idea how they put their infrastructure in place… whereas Singapore still link in to their [stock exchange], from the main studio, we will be actually running everything and all the operations from the JSE studios. So it’s a little more advanced than what Singapore is doing,” says Landsberg.
LED technology will be used to reduce the power consumption by the studio lights and the video wall. Landsberg says, as time goes by, small technological frills will be added.
The new technology is in the interest of keeping business people better informed about what’s happening inside Africa’s biggest bourse.