Turkey’s Glass Industry Has Local Roots and Global Reach

IFC’s longstanding support helped Sisecam expand into other emerging markets. © Sisecam

When Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, visited the brand-new Paşabahçe Glass Plant in 1935, it was far more significant than the usual ceremonial meet-and-greet. That’s because Atatürk himself had established Turkey’s glassware industry just the year before, envisioning a sector—built from scratch—that would make the newborn nation self-sufficient.

Though just 400 people worked at the plant when it opened, by the next year it was already capable of meeting the country’s entire bottle and glassware demand with a production of 3,000 tons. The plant’s rapid ramp-up hinted at its potential, which met and exceeded the original vision.

That first glass plant and subsequent businesses and facilities became integrated into the Sisecam Group in the 1970s. Now, Sisecam, a glass industry leader, operates flat glass, glassware, glass packaging, and chemicals businesses at 44 local and foreign plants. Nearly half its sales are exports. It is a global player, operating in 13 countries and exporting to 150.

IFC has been a longstanding partner in Sisecam’s transformation, supporting its international expansion and growth for more than 40 years. IFC’s investments have helped Sisecam become a major exporter and kick-start new international operations in countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, and Russia.

To help Sisecam achieve the private sector innovation and productivity growth that has made it an industry leader—and advanced Turkey’s economic progress—IFC has provided nearly $600 million of financing and mobilized nearly $200 million more for the company during the past decade. In the process, trade liberalization policies and reforms have introduced the company into the global economy, enabling its integration into foreign production chains. As it has expanded its options for trade, it has also created jobs: the company now has more than 21,000 employees.


Atatürk’s Vision Goes Global

Such successful cross-border growth, exemplified by Sisecam and other flourishing Turkish businesses, illustrates how increased private sector innovation and productivity strategies can help countries enter and advance in the global economy.

When an industry such as this goes from local to global, economic progress often comes within closer reach—because in most countries, manufacturing generates more economic activity per dollar of production than any other business sector. Turkey’s glass industry is a case in point.

Like Turkey, countries that have successfully developed and reduced poverty over the past century have done so largely by developing their manufacturing sectors. Manufacturers directly create jobs across a range of skill levels, enabling people to transition from informal work to formal employment with benefits.  Financial security, better pay, social insurance, and access to financial services are just a few of these advantages.


How Manufacturing Makes a Difference

Manufacturing creates opportunity across industry value chains by increasing demand for raw materials, energy, construction, technology, and services from a broad array of supplying industries in the economy. To support this, IFC invests across a diverse range of sectors within a strategy of promoting job creation, productivity enhancement, and environment and social sustainability. In Turkey, we have a $5 billion investment portfolio—our second-largest country exposure.

One of IFC’s specific priorities in Turkey is supporting local companies as they expand into other emerging markets.This helps encourage private sector development by increasing the flow of capital, technology, management expertise, and job creation. In the past 10 years IFC invested over $1 billion to support Turkish companies in expanding into other developing countries .

Read more: www.ifc.org/manufacturing

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Published in September 2017


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