DIAMOND SPONSOR INTERVIEW: “Our presence at DRC Mining Week is to reinforce our commitment to the industry and assure all stakeholders that FBNBank DRC SA remains a key player in the economic development of DRC.”

1)    Welcome back to DRC Mining Week as our exclusive diamond sponsor. Why the decision to partner with us again and tell us how your experience was last year and what you are planning in terms of your presence at the event this year.
Our participation in the DRC Mining Week last year was one of the bank’s major sponsorships since its rebranding from BIC to FBNBank DRC SA. The decision was a conscious move in line with our overarching communication strategy to connect and engage with our stakeholders to come out strong as a Diamond sponsor.

Secondly, this was part of a well thought through strategy of laying solid foundation for our bank’s presence in this economically heavyweight region of the country. Today, you will agree with me that DRC Mining Week has become one of the most respected high profile forums in Africa, and many executive players and decision makers the world over now consider the event as must attend. This is because the event offers enormous business and professional networking opportunities, not only to the mining sector, but also to the entire ecosystem in which Banks operate. Our presence this year at the DRC Mining Week is to reinforce our commitment to the industry and assure all stakeholders that FBNBank DRC SA remains a key player in the economic development of DRC.

2)    Can we talk about FBNBank DRC SA. There is already a proud history there.
Yes indeed. We take great pride in the heritage of our mother brand, First Bank of Nigeria Limited and we are keen at sharing our vision for Africa as a global brand and that is one of the many reasons we decided to enter this important market at the heart of the continent. In 2008, we took the opportunity given to us to acquire the majority stake of BIC (Banque International De Credit), an international bank acquired in 1992 by a Congolese businessman. Last year, we decided to purchase the remaining 25% shareholding from the minority shareholder, which provided us total ownership of the bank, and positioned our bank as the Group’s biggest subsidiary in the region.

3)    Are there any particular mining projects that your organization is involved in that you are particularly excited about currently?
FBNBANK has a particular interest for mining projects in Katanga and we are leveraging the Group’s mining expertise from across the globe from the UK to China to assist mining companies on their growth paths in the region. We have various financing offers that our customers in the region uses to help develop their businesses.

4)    What in your view are the main challenges to the African mining sector? And the DRC in particular?
At local levels across the continent, we need stronger regulations to ensure the entire ecosystem is working properly and return on investment is secured for all stakeholders; next to that is the urgent need for mining industrialization, which will significantly improve margins and return on investment and provide governments with sufficient funds to invest in infrastructure which Africa so badly needs.

5)    What is your vision for the sector?
As a bank, we have a huge responsibility, as part of the value chain, to strive for innovative business solutions which will add value to the ecosystem. Most of African countries’ GDP contribution and development initiatives rely heavily on the mining sector. We are therefore continuously working to position our bank as a major key player in DRC mining sector.

6)    How important is Lubumbashi for the sector moving forward and being an example for the rest of the country?
It is no secret that Lubumbashi and its surrounding regions have always played a key historical role in DRC’s economic growth and this very moment in the history of the country is critical. Copper and Cobalt’s prices in the international market are rising, the world’s eyes are on DRC. This is one of the reasons why we’ve just invested over a million dollar to build a new office in downtown Lubumbashi which was inaugurated last February 2018. This shows the importance FBNBank DRC SA gives to the region and the resolve to stay for a long haul to support the Country’s development drive. We are focusing our efforts in raising the standards by providing high quality products and services to our customers.

7)    You are a part of a panel discussion session at the upcoming DRC Mining Week in June on the “Finding balance between financials discipline and economic: Driving sustainable productivity and guaranteeing bankable projects” - What are you most looking forward to at the panel?
I look forward to a very robust discussion and insights from other panelists and discussants. And most importantly discussion on the real challenges facing the sector as a whole; How do we stimulate growth and ensure profitability is sustained over time while mitigating and minimizing risks in a still shaky regulatory environment? It will be an interesting panel and we hope to come up with key strategic directions and proposals for the industry.

8)    What will be FBNBank DRC's message at the event this year?
“You First” is not just a buzz word, but a brand promise and it is the DNA of our banking institution. Our message is simple: Our Customers come first, their growth is First, their success is First, their vision is First… and FBNBank DRC SA has got what it takes to make them First in their respective business endeavors.