THE FBNBank INTERVIEW: “The DRC Mining week is a great initiative that provides a great visibility opportunity to the local mining sector and the whole value chain”

1)    Let’s start with some background on FBNBank DRC.
FBNBank DRC S.A. is one of the premier banks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has been contributing to the country’s economic development since 1994. With the experience of many transformations over the years due to political, regulatory and ownership requirements, FBNBank DRC has remained resilient, trustworthy and dynamic. FBNBank DRC is a commercial bank with a good spread of corporate, SME, public and retail banking clientele, with diverse needs spanning different regions of the country. The Bank offers a range of products and services to meet the financial needs of its widespread customers. The Bank has grown its network to nearly 70 branches and agencies in the country’s major commercial centres, with over 200,000 customers and 60 ATMs. FBNBank DRC’s suite of products has been carefully designed to be flexible and serves different segments of society. They range from project financing to working capital, overdrafts, invoice and contract financing, and professional and personal loans to employees.

FBNBank DRC is jointly owned by First Bank of Nigeria Ltd (75%) and BSG Capital Markets Ltd (25%) and benefits from a solid heritage of banking experience. First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank), the Brand of which FBNBank DRC is an integral part, was established in 1894. FirstBank is Nigeria’s premier and most valuable banking brand, and largest financial services institution by total assets and gross earnings. With more than 14 million customer accounts, FirstBank has over 750  business locations in Nigeria providing a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as its Representative Offices in Johannesburg, Beijing and Abu Dhabi.

2)    What in your view are the main challenges to the African mining sector? And the DRC in particular?
There are many challenges both in DRC and on the African continent but I guess the major one remains the lack of further industrialization of this sector. Diversified mineral processing and value-added manufacturing are needed and will benefit both the mining community and country’s overall economic development.

3)    What is your vision for the sector?
Similar to the rest of the continent, DRC’s mining potential remains largely untapped. The local mining sector is currently limited to a few resources. There’s therefore scope for diversification. A great focus has been put on Katanga for many years; interest is and should be growing for other potential mining areas like the East and Central DRC with resources such as Gold, Diamond and the 3 Ts to only name the most obvious ones. The DRC mining sector should remain attractive in view of these aspects. This should further fuel the need for industrialization raised earlier.

4)      You are a part of a panel discussion session at the upcoming at DRC Mining Week in June on the “Maximize your project ROI with tailor-made financing incentives” - What are you most looking forward to at the panel?
I am looking forward to the continuous exchanges we’ve been having on ways and solutions to grow the local mining sector. As far as financing is concerned, I am expecting the exchanges to revolve around finding the common denominator between the funding requirements and the risk involved in the financing of transactions. The right type of structures can then be found to fit the needs of potential mining clients in order to assist them in maximizing their return.

5)      Anything you would like to add?
The DRC Mining week is a great initiative that provides a great visibility opportunity to the local mining sector and the whole value chain. FBNBank DRC is therefore a proud supporter of this event. We thank and encourage the organizers for the continued growth and interest the conference is getting over the years.