Exclusive interview with Sophie Olivier, Directrice Générale, CCI Franco-Congolaise and convenor of the French Pavilion at the upcoming DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi in June.

Sophie Olivier,

Welcome to DRC Mining Week! Why the decision to bring a country pavilion to Lubumbashi?
The French economic community already has a presence in Lubumbashi via the CCIFC and the CFA. We originally wanted to promote them. Then, with the help of the French Embassy, and the CCEF and CCIFC Board of Directors, we decided to combine them in one place: the French Pavilion, to give more visibility to the French commercial offer.

Which companies will be represented on the French pavilion?
The following companies will be represented: BRASIMBA, CIS, DISTRITEC, GCS, HTDS, SERVTEC, SOFIBANQUE, SOS INTERNATIONAL, and CCIFC. We are also awaiting confirmations from CANAL + and the BUSINESS FRANCE delegation. Other French companies are regular exhibitors at DMW, BOLLORE TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS for example, which will not be on the stand, but who are with us wholeheartedly!

What products or projects will the French pavilion display at the event in Lubumbashi this year?
French companies are recognized for their expertise in technical subcontracting, particularly in mining or oil. For example, Distritec, which is specialized in petroleum equipment, or HTDS, specialized in measurement and safety detection tools. Servtec is specialized in training, HR management and fire detection & figthing. CIS manages catering for major mining operators. SOS International is one of the world’s leaders in the management of health, safety and repatriation. But the CCIFC also comes with more general operators such as SOFIBANQUE, a corporate bank that is experiencing rapid growth in Congo. It manages many “major accounts”, and still retains a real ability and flexibility to adapt to the needs of SMEs. GCS is a specialist in logistics and customs clearance. As for Brasima, it is a well-known brewery, a subsidiary of the Castel group.

How big are the French interests in DRC mining sector? And are there particular skills that French mining experts and suppliers can share with DRC mining companies?
The French economic presence in the DRC comprises about 40 companies, including locally-based SMEs but also subsidiaries of large groups that have really adapted well to the local environment – in various fields such as hotels, telecoms, energy … Also, as I mentioned, the French are recognized for their technical expertise, both in subcontracting (maintenance, technical, construction etc.) and in associated services (catering, HR, audit etc.). There are therefore many French services or products – including technical equipment – within local companies, including mining.

What will be your message at DRC Mining Week this year?
Choose France, definitely! The expertise and seriousness of French companies are not just words. Test us, you will be bowled over!

Anything you would like to add?
We wish this edition of DRC Mining Week to be a great success. And we thank the organizers for their flexibility and kindness.