I was very happy, or even elated to see some of Sierra
Leone’s online news papers, namely: Cocorioko,
Awareness Times and Patriotic Vanguard, showing my
country’s name rolling down the NASDAQ board - right
in the heart of Manhattan, New York city - America’s
financial capital, which also happens to be the
financial hub of the world.
Sierra Leone’s president Koroma standing
in front of the NASDAQ board, in a very
happy and elegant mood.
It is such photo opportunities our
president needs - more so our country,
especially after the brutal scars and
images of eleven years of senseless
carnage and destruction, brought upon it
by the rebel incursion.
The NASDAQ opportunity gave president
Koroma high visibility in the world of
And had the event been given the
reportage it deserves, it would have
enhanced the president’s credibility
among global financial leaders.
In an era where crisis of confidence has gripped the
economic minds of world leaders, this appearance was
an indication that president Koroma of the small
country of Sierra Leone is keeping abreast with the
basic workings of capitalism.
Alas, to the disappointment and astonishment of most
right thinking Sierra Leoneans, the reportage of the
event by the Reverend Kabs-Kanu, Minister
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary representing
Sierra Leone at the United Nations, stripped the
thunder and glow that the event had built.
Kabs-Kanu’s newspaper headline reads: "Sierra Leone’s
President Ernest Koroma at New York NASDAQ and the
world financial market bounced back from a week-long
When I finished reading the article, my thought was:
here we go again. This reportage falls right into
the narrative and notion that some Sierra Leonean
newspapers and commentators have formed about
President Koroma and the APC government he is
Some papers call him the "smoke and Mirrors
president;" others say his presidency is about
"glamour and show-business, and no substance".
Although such caricature of the president is untrue
and unfair, however, it originates from the
sycophancy, bootlicking, apple-polishing and
flattery demonstrated by minions and lackey’s, such
as the Reverend Kabs-Kanu.
They exaggerate political events and important
national issues to the point where they end up
embarrassing the president in particular and Sierra
Leone in general.
Either the Reverend Kabs-Kanu has no idea about the
inner workings of the stock market, or like most of
his coverage of Sierra Leonean’s socio-political
issues, he always overstates, over embellishes
events to the point where it sometimes becomes
senseless to read.
Most especially, his reports on the economy of
Sierra Leone are mostly exaggerated and far removed
from the reality on the ground.
For the information of Reverend Kabs-Kanu, president
Koroma’s visit to the NASDAQ stock exchange has no
relationship, or correlation with the movement of
that market. If there was movement in the stocks of
NASDAQ, on the day the president visited the
exchange, take it as a mere coincidence, and nothing
For the Reverend therefore to have stated that it was
president Koroma’s visit that led to the movement of
the NASDAQ after a week of it being in the
bear-market (week of low falling stock prices), is
not only a display of ignorance on his part, but a
show of dishonesty and disrespect for the presidency
of Sierra Leone and the reading public.
NASDAQ stands for the National Association of
Securities Dealers Automated Quotations Systems. It
is the place where most technology stocks are
traded. The exchange trades more than 5,000 actively
traded companies over the counter stocks, meaning
that you do not have to go to the NASDAQ head office
to buy NASDAQ stocks.
But with the connection of a computer to the internet
or telephone, you can call a dealer and buy NASDAQ
stocks in their different locations around the world
from your living room. Stocks of companies like
Microsoft, Dell Computer and Cisco can be bought and
sold on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
So when you hear people say that the NASDAQ is up or
down on a given day, like Reverend Kabs-Kanu rightly
put it, the NASDAQ having a week of rough-ride, they
are referring to the NASDAQ composite index (an
average of a bunch of numbers derived from the price
movements of certain stocks in the exchange due to
demand and supply).
Like the DJIA (DOW Jones Industrial Average) it is a
statistical measure of a portion of the market.
Thus, the 'DOW' as well as the 'NASDAQ', refers to
However, only the NASDAQ is also referred to as an
exchange where investors buy and sell stocks.
Investors do not trade the DOW or the NASDAQ as they
each represent merely a mathematical average that
financial economists use to try and make sense of
the stock market.
Stock exchanges like the NASDAQ are indeed moved
primarily by internal as well as external forces.
The internal forces are the profit/loss declared by
companies that participate in the exchange as
mandated by the SEC (Securities and Exchange
Commission) of the United States federal government.
Such information provides a common pool of knowledge
that investors use as a barometer to decide whether
to buy, sell or hold a particular security.
Companies that are therefore well managed, profitable
and pay out dividends on a frequent basis, become
attractive to investors, leading to high demand for
their stocks in the secondary market like the
The converse also applies as the price of a company’s
stock will drop if the company is poorly managed and
does not pay out dividend to investors. Another
internal force that moves a market is what is known
as "market correction".
This is what may have happened with the NASDAQ, on
Friday September 23rd - the day of President
The NASDAQ underwent a market correction after a few
weeks of decline in the activities of the index.
This decline occurs after a bull market due to the
uncertainties in the global market place, namely:
worries about the recent "debt ceiling" fiasco, a
full blown debt crisis hanging over Europe, or the
growing worry that the United States is about to
slip into a double-dip recession.
With issues like these in the minds of investors, they
will start to sell or hold their investments away
from stocks into other investment instruments.
However, after a while, investors will regain their
confidence in the market and start to buy NASDAQ
stocks again, and the market will begin to head high
again. Financial economists call this situation
The external forces that affect the stock market are
the actions of the federal government through the
actions of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank
of the United States, commonly called the Fed, via
monetary policy or the President of the United
States via fiscal policy.
This is the only reason why someone like President
Barack Obama’s visit to an exchange or comment on
economic policy will move the stock market. The same
rationale holds true for comments from the Fed
Chairman - Dr. Ben Bernanke on US monetary policy.
Aside from the actions of the Euro leaders through the
Bundes bank, the German Central bank, it is the
actions of China’s President Hu Jintao, or India’s
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, among the other
world leaders whose comments on fiscal or monetary
policy can move stock markets like the NASDAQ,
because of the gigantic role their economies are
playing in the global market place.
President Koroma, with every respect due to him is
a leader of a small open economy (price taker) in
West Africa, and his influence on the world economic
stage is to say the least insignificant.
So for the Reverend Kabs-Kanu to have opined that
because the Sierra Leonean president visited the
NASDAQ stock exchange, and the market moved in a
positive direction is at a minimum a stretch and an
exaggeration; and at worse - reckless and
Future articles or reports on important national
matters like the visit of the president of Sierra
Leone to an august body like the NASDAQ should be
handled by an investigative journalist, with sound
knowledge of global financial matters.
It is also important that the report is vetted by
the Ministry of Finance in Freetown, whose minister
is a qualified and competent technocrat, with the
necessary qualification and professional experience
to talk about the stock market; so is the financial
secretary - Mr. Edmond Koroma.
Dr. Samura Kamara who heads the finance ministry is a
PhD holder in Economics and seasoned practitioner,
so is Mr. Edmond Koroma, the Financial Secretary a
London School of Economics graduate. There is
therefore no scarcity of financial experts in the
APC government; not to talk about the country in
The only challenge that seems to be standing in the
way of the APC government and its leader is to
garner the courage and moral fortitude to employ the
services of qualified and competent Sierra Leoneans
regardless of party, regional or tribal affiliation
for the benefit of the country.
Let me therefore remind the Reverend Kabs-Kanu that
the duty of a journalist is to bring forth reports
that will increase the knowledge of the reading
public; to search for truth and present it with the
highest of principles, truthfulness, honesty,
integrity and accountability.
The Reverend Kabs-Kanu, editor of the Cocorioko online
newspaper and head of the project to rebrand Sierra
Leone failed this canon duty of journalism,
President Koroma, and the Sierra Leonean people in
his reportage of the President’s visit to the NASDAQ
on Friday September 23rd 2011.
The APC government should therefore seriously employ
the services of knowledgeable people on global
financial matters to join the rebranding project in
New York, so as to avoid future embarrassment to the
president and our country at large.
John Mannah, Maryland - USA
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