ECOBANK INTERVIEW: “We have a deep understanding of the local mining landscape and regulatory environment in the DRC”

Exclusive interview with Alassane Sorgo, Directeur General of Ecobank Congo DRC, a diamond plus sponsor of the upcoming DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi.

1. Let’s talk about your background. What career path led you to the management of Ecobank in the DRC?
I am Alassane Sorgo. I have been with the Ecobank group for 25 years. My path began in finance and then in commercial activity.

Before joining Ecobank RDC, I was for around ten years General Manager of another subsidiary of the Ecobank group and I then joined Ecobank RDC at the end of 2022 to start a new challenge with the subsidiary of the DRC, which for me is a subsidiary which today should occupy an even more predominant position within the Ecobank group than it has today. This is my personal challenge to support the subsidiary and all the economic actors at the local market level so that we can contribute significantly to the economic development of the DRC.

2. What makes Ecobank unique in its offerings for the mining and allied sectors?

Ecobank RDC is a subsidiary of the Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African banking group in the private sector. Concerned about contributing effectively to the national economy, at Ecobank RDC, we have been supporting our individual clients, SMEs and SMIs, individual businesses, large companies and public and private institutions for over 15 years with a full range of financial services and solutions through our agencies, digital platforms, ATMs and Xpress points.

Our unique pan-African network provides a unified platform for payments, treasury management, trade and investments in Africa and beyond.

Our unique value proposition includes:
• In-depth local market knowledge and expertise: We have a deep understanding of the local mining landscape and regulatory environment in the DRC. This allows us to provide our customers with tailored solutions that meet their specific needs and challenges.

• Extensive network and reach: With a presence in over 33 African countries, we have an extensive network and reach that can support our mining clients across the continent. This includes a network of correspondent banks, trade finance specialists and commodity experts. Also, our presence outside the African continent, in particular with a subsidiary in France and representative offices in China, the United Arab Emirates as well as England, allows us to support our clients on transactions and projects in these areas there.

• Innovative financial solutions: We are constantly innovating and developing new financial solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of our mining customers. This includes solutions for project finance, trade finance, risk management and cash management.
• Commitment to sustainability: We are committed to supporting sustainable mining practices in the DRC. We work with our clients to develop and implement sustainable mining initiatives that protect the environment and benefit local communities.

3. Do you have any specific projects or client successes that you are particularly proud of and want to share?
Our presence in the country is an important element because the DRC continues to represent a main anchor point for the entire continent which should allow take-off to take place across the entire continent. The geographical position of the DRC is an important element. As soon as the DRC fully takes off, the impact on all surrounding countries and on the entire continent will be greater and for us the most important element is to be part of those who will contribute to making the DRC a continental economic champion who can lead the entire continent towards the successes we are targeting for Africa by 2050.

4. How important is it for Ecobank to support CSR projects in the sector?
We believe it is essential for mining companies to operate in a sustainable and responsible manner. We are therefore committed to supporting them in the development and implementation of ESG (environmental, social and governance) programmes that minimise their environmental impact, support local communities and promote good governance. We believe it’s not only the right thing to do, but also good business. Mining companies that operate sustainably and responsibly are more likely to succeed in the long term.

5. Is Ecobank involved in supporting women in the mining industry?
Overall, Ecobank is resolutely committed to supporting women with the aim of providing them with tailor-made financial and non-financial solutions that respond to their evolving needs. This is how, in recent years, Ecobank launched the Ellever programme, which is aimed at women-owned, women-led or women-focused businesses.

Regarding the mining sector, we recognise the crucial role that women play in the development and prosperity of the sector in the DRC. To do this, we intend to implement several initiatives through our Ellever programme.

We would like to have a positive and significant impact on the mining sector in the DRC, in particular by supporting the financial inclusion of women in the mining sector, by contributing to capacity building through training and workshops for example; by encouraging female entrepreneurship as well as the creation of a fair working environment in the mining sector in the DRC.

This will result in increased participation of women in the mining economy, diversification of the value chain and a contribution to more sustainable and inclusive mining development.

6. Ecobank is a long-standing, high-profile sponsor of DRC Mining Week. How important is this event io the mining calendar?
DRC Mining Week is one of the most important mining events in the sector. It brings together thousands of participants, including business leaders, investors, government officials and mining sector experts. This is a great opportunity for Ecobank to meet its customers, make new contacts and promote our products and services.

DRC Mining Week is also an important platform to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the mining sector in the DRC and the region. Ecobank is a strong supporter of sustainable development in the mining industry and we are committed to working with our partners to promote responsible and environmentally friendly mining practices.

7. What will be your message during the next DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi?
At the next DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi, we will highlight our commitment to supporting the sustainable development of the mining industry in the DRC. We will present our innovative financial solutions designed to help mining companies manage their risks, finance their projects and grow their activities sustainably.

We will also highlight our support for women in the mining industry. We believe that women have a crucial role to play in the development of this sector and we are committed to helping them reach their full potential.

Finally, we will take the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the DRC and the region. We are convinced that the mining sector has the potential to drive economic growth and create jobs in the region and we are determined to play a leading role in its development.

8. Do you have anything to add?
Ecobank is a leading financial partner for the mining sector in Africa. We have extensive experience and expertise in financing mining projects, commodity trading and risk management.

Additionally, as a strong supporter of sustainability, we are committed to supporting responsible mining practices that minimize the environmental and social impact of mining.

We invite you to visit our stand during the next DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi to learn more about our products and services as well as our commitment to the mining sector.

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