A Hotel Is Not Just a Place to Sleep

Creating Jobs and Growth in Developing Countries

Mossadeck Bally, the son of Malian parents living in Niger, studied in France and the United States, and then returned to Africa to work in business. In 1994, he saw an opportunity to invest in The Grand Hotel, a colonial-era hotel in central Bamako being privatized by the Malian government. The hotel required extensive renovations—$2.6 million worth—but Bally believed it had potential to become an international standard business hotel.

Partnership with IFC helped Mossadeck Bally build a chain of seven business hotels across four countries in West Africa 

With financing from IFC, Bally has made the Grand Hotel a destination for business travelers. And from that one hotel, Bally has built the Azalaï Hotels Group, a chain of seven business hotels operating in four countries in West Africa.

IFC invests in hotels and tourism because of its strong development impact, particularly for low-income countries and fragile and conflict-affected countries. In Mali—a conflict-affected country located in the Sahel where almost half the population lives in poverty—the Azalaï Grand Hotel’s development impact has been significant. According to a study by Oxford Analytics, in the year 2014 alone it contributed more than $3.2 million to the local economy and sustained over 900 jobs, directly and through suppliers and consumer spending by employees. The Azalaï Grand Hotel, like other hotels, tends to hire, train, and promote local staff, whose salaries are on average ten times higher than the national average.

Although business travelers account for the majority of visitors, better security could open the door to rapid growth in the future. Mali has the second largest number of World Heritage sites in West Africa—cultural assets with potential for developing a leisure travel industry.

The Oxford Analytics study found similar positive economic impact from two other IFC-funded hotels: the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel in Ghana and the Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa in Maldives. The analysis showed that the higher the quality of the hotel the more jobs it created to deliver the higher level of service.

Around the world, the tourism industry is a major contributor to employment, accounting for one out of every 11 jobs. In addition to jobs created during construction, hotels act as an anchor for a diverse community of small businesses and service providers, such as landscapers, food and beverage suppliers, tour guides, and shops. The tourism industry also generates higher foreign exchange earnings and tax revenues for developing countries in comparison to other industries, further contributing to healthier economic environments.

Read more about IFC investments in hotels in IFC's case study A Hotel Is Not Just A Place To Sleep.

Published in April 2016

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A Hotel Is Not Just A Place To Sleep

Development Impact of IFC Investments in High-quality Hotels 

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