Amedeo Anniciello, the Chief Executive of Standard Bank in the DRC talks about the lessons of COVID-19. Standard Bank is a longstanding partner of DRC Mining Week and a returning diamond plus sponsor in 2021.
Let’s start with some background on Standard Bank, and how it is positioned in the DRC market?
We are the largest African banking organization by asset with a presence in 20 countries. In the DRC, we are a leading Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB) organization.
Our client portfolio comprises market-leading local corporates, multinationals with operations in several geographies, and the Government & Strategic Parastatals.
As our purpose is to drive the DRC’s growth, we seek to unlock value for our clients by providing a comprehensive range of financial solutions under a unified offering.
In doing so, we focus on developing long-term partnerships with these clients, the majority of which operate in the sectors that drive the country’s GDP.
When it comes to DRC Mining, what has your attention in the current environment?
With over US$24 trillion of estimated mineral resource value in the country, with many strategic minerals in high demand such as copper and cobalt, the DRC remains a very sought-after mining destination.
The number of reputed investors in the DRC mining sector is an indication of the sustainability and the growing interest in this sector in the long run despite the challenges. Latest acquisitions have encouraged industry players to also look more seriously at the DRC.
Nevertheless, the level of optimism is ultimately linked to the regulatory framework in the country. The new government has raised hope in the right direction as President Felix Tshisekedi is determined to make improvements in order to boost development in the country.
Any exciting projects that you are involved with at the moment that you can share?
We are involved a number of very exciting projects in the DRC at the moment. Two of them being in production already and one being in construction phase. Standard Bank has always been involved in mining projects in the DRC and we will continue to do so.
Our specialized team on the ground and at group level is constantly engaging with existing and potential investors to support them in the development of their projects.
Any lessons you have learnt in the course of this pandemic?
A year ago, none imagined that the world would be facing a global health crisis in just a few months. From the beginning of the pandemic, our priority was to safeguard the health and lives of our employees and our clients. We learned the importance of remaining vigilant and adhering to guidelines that were set to protect our people, our loved ones, our clients and our communities.
Secondly, we learned to adapt fast. At the beginning of the pandemic, being an essential business, we knew that this virus would represent a threat to our resources, activities and infrastructures. Thanks to agile adoption of new operating norms that were the ground for enhanced execution and performance to satisfy our clients and remain customers centric, we have been able to respond swiftly and effectively to our clients’ needs during this crisis.
The third main lesson is how we demonstrated resilience to our people. As leaders, we were called to adopt a more agile approach in making deliberate choices to shift our leading model and inspire our teams to face the dramatic changes brought by the pandemic.
The fourth critical and key element in ensuring continued success and client service delivery at the highest standards, it that communication is of paramount importance and regular engagement, even on a virtual basis is required.
This pandemic has also shown us that we can work quickly and effectively together for the common good. Armed with this knowledge, and with the new capacities we have built together over this difficult year, we will undoubtedly not only recover from the pandemic, but emerge stronger.
Your view of DRC as a mining investment destination?
As indicated above, the DRC has huge deposits across the diversity of minerals: copper, cobalt, gold, diamonds, tin and others. With an estimated value of $24 trillion in mineral resources, mining will continue to be a significant contributor to the growth of the country. The ore grades are very high, and the yields are very good, so, for mining companies, there are huge significant returns to be made in the DRC.
That said, economic flux, regulatory concerns, unpredictable commodity prices, access to energy and water, costs and productivity, make the mining sector both challenging and unpredictable. We understand that mining is a specialised sector that needs specific expertise.
That is why our specialized team on the ground, with the expertise in the mining sector, provides the support and in-depth sector insight into what matters most to businesses operating in the mining sector value chain.
You are a longstanding sponsor of the event, what has been the value of the association in your view?
The DRC Mining week is a valuable conference for Standard Bank. As the Diamond Sponsor of the event, our main goal is to foster a platform that brings together the industry, investors and government leaders from across the globe.
Over the years, we have seen a significant progress in the number of participants and the attention towards the industry. Through this sponsorship, we are reinforcing our commitment to support DRC’s growth and we are confident that the mining industry will continue to play an important role in the development of our economy.
What will be your message at the event?
Standard Bank DRC is the Bank of Choice of the DRC mining sector and we will continue to support mining operators and their value chain with tailored made solutions and services and ensure they perform and grow. With Standard Bank, IT CAN BE.