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IFC Supports the Expansion of Saudi Arabia Retailer to Eastern Europe and Central Asia


Washington, D.C. October 11, 2011--IFC is providing $50 million in financing to leading Saudi Arabia-based retailer, Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair, to help it expand to Eastern Europe and Central Asia. IFC’s financing is compliant with Islamic Shariah law.

The company will use IFC’s commodity Murabaha facility to finance expansion of its operations in Kazakhstan and open in new markets such as Azerbaijan and Georgia.

2,000 New Jobs to be Created

The new investment will help create 2,000 new jobs, approximately half of them for women, facilitate training programs, and contribute to economic linkages by partnering with local shopping mall operators, contractors, and other service providers.

IFC’s support will help establish an efficient, transparent, and socially-responsible business model in markets where modern retail formats are under-represented, and where strengthening consumer purchasing power is an important priority for private sector development.


As a highly competitive apparel retail company, Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair will help develop a modern cross-regional retail sector, which is still fragmented and underserved in target markets. IFC’s involvement sends a strong signal of support and investor confidence in the region.

Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair owns franchising rights to more than 80 global, regional, and local apparel and other consumer brands. It sells these branded products through its network of more than 1,000 retail outlets in five countries across the Middle East and Central Asia.

Important Sector for IFC

Retail is an important sector for IFC. Since 1956, we have invested over $1.5 billion in more than 65 retail projects with over 30 clients. Most of our clients are small to mid-size retailers in developing countries, but we also finance large regional and international groups, supporting their efforts to invest in emerging markets and move down market to reach lower-income groups.

IFC’s retail projects have had multiple development impacts, including:

  • More than 95,000 high-quality direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs: workers acquire marketable skills and have opportunities for advancement.
  • Transfer of global management knowledge and accelerated modernization of the sector.
  • Local small business growth: sectors include agribusiness, food processing, wholesalers, suppliers, manufacturers, and distribution and logistics.
  • Better environmental management systems, lower emissions, and improved energy efficiency.
  • Wider product choice, quality, and affordability for low-income consumers.

Elizabeth Price
Sr. Communications Officer, IFC
Consumer and Social Services
Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services Department
Phone: 202-458-0387

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