Press Releases

IFC Partners with A1 Group to Develop Modern Retail Chain in Belarus

In Washington, D.C.:
Carmen Powell

Phone: +1 (202) 473-4982


In Moscow:

Nezhdana Bukova

Phone: +7 (465) 411 7555


Minsk, Belarus, July 18, 2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement with A1 Group, a subsidiary of the Russian consortium Alfa Group, to provide financing to a food retail project named Belmarket. Belmarket, one of the first large retailers in the country, will increase competition in the local retail sector and improve operational efficiencies. It will also expand access to modern retail services by offering quality fresh produce and other products at fair prices.

IFC will provide a $6 million loan facility, which will be used to finance the launch of 128 stores.

“Cooperation with IFC substantially increases Belmarket’s prospects in the market. IFC is a strong and experienced partner. We had two joint projects with IFC, Vladpivo in Russia and Syabar in Belarus, and both projects were successful. IFC’s participation provides us the first class investment and financial expertise,” said Alexander Babikov, Belmarket’s Chairman of the Board.

“IFC is pleased to support this project due to its major development impact, which includes the increase in competition in the retail sector and promotion of sustainable private sector development in Belarus. In addition, this project will open new channels for small and medium producers in the country to sell their goods to reliable buyers. The project is also expected to generate many direct and indirect jobs,” said Nena Stoiljkovic, IFC Director for Central and Eastern Europe.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC's vision is that people should have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit

IFC in Belarus
Belarus became an IFC member in November 1992. On the invitation of the Government of Belarus, IFC has been actively involved in advisory work in Belarus since 1993. Over more than 10 years, IFC has implemented a range of advisory services projects and investments projects in the financial, agribusiness and retail sectors in Belarus.

About A1
A1 is a leading direct investment company in Russia and CIS. A1 invests into various industries to benefit its shareholders, clients and partners. Partnership with A1 brings about fast positive change factors such as new investments for development, better quality of management, higher transparency, and optimized business structure.