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IFC Supports Expansion of Family-Owned Hotel in Mauritania

In Washington
Hannfried von Hindenburg
Phone: +(202) 458-5613
Fax: +(202) 974-4384

Washington, D.C./ Nouakchott, May 19, 2006 — The International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, said today that it will provide a €1.7 million loan for the renovation and expansion of a three-star hotel in Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital. Hôtel Halima is owned by a local family, the Kabages, who established it in 1992 and have successfully managed it since then.

As the Mauritanian economy expands, the development of small and medium-size enterprises becomes ever more relevant to ensure breadth and sustainability of the country’s business activities.  In Hôtel Halima, IFC is financing a small hotel business that is trying to satisfy a growing demand of visitors to Mauritania.  IFC collaborated with Proparco, the private sector financing arm of France’s development assistance agency, to structure the long-term €3.4 million financing package.  In addition to the loan, IFC is advising Hôtel Halima on how to strengthen its marketing function and quality of service.  On the environmental side, IFC is ensuring proper implementation of on-site wastewater treatment and fire and life safety measures as part of the project.

IFC’s loan will help restore Hôtel Halima’s 45 rooms, conference rooms, and its restaurant, and help to build an extension with 32 new rooms, a business center, health club, and retail space.  The hotel will offer reasonably priced accommodations to business travelers and tourists who up to now have not had a quality alternative to more expensive four-star international hotels in Nouakchott.  

Richard Ranken, IFC’s director for Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “IFC is pleased to support this highly visible example of an SME’s long-term commitment to grow. Our investment in Hôtel Halima underlines the importance that IFC attaches to facilitating private participation in key business sectors in Mauritania, and to helping generate a positive investment response in support of the government’s economic and good governance reforms.”

Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC’s director for Global Manufacturing and Services, said, “Our involvement in this project increases the supply and quality of service in Mauritania’s important but underserved mid-market hotel sector by promoting a successful family-owned business.”

Aziz Kabage, shareholder and managing director of Hôtel Halima, said, “The hotel has strong growth potential because of its size and strategic location downtown near the business district, embassies, and government offices.  Hôtel Halima will benefit from and add to the growing economy of Mauritania.”

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.  IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.  Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications. For more information, visit