Press Releases

IFC Promotes Business-Enabling Infrastructure in Pakistan

In Pakistan
Vardah Malik

Phone: + (92) 300 500-1731


Islamabad, 22 March 2007—IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding to invest in Tourism Promotion Services Pakistan, the parent company of Serena Hotels in Pakistan. The investment will finance a project involving the expansion of the Islamabad Serena Hotel and the construction of an adjacent office complex.  

The shortage of quality accommodations and office facilities in Islamabad is a major deterrent to the city’s economic development. As the number of foreign and domestic business visitors in Islamabad grows, the need increases. IFC’s $16 million in equity will help balance supply and demand in the city’s hotel and office-rental markets.

Sponsored by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, also known as AKFED, Tourism Promotion Services Pakistan is one of the leading companies operating in the Pakistani hotel sector. It owns and operates a network of six hotels under the Serena brand name, providing high-quality accommodation services. AKFED, through its Tourism Promotion Services companies, operates 28 Serena hotels, resorts, and safari lodges in Afghanistan, Kenya, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Lars Thunell, head of IFC, signed the agreement during his first visit to Pakistan since joining IFC in January 2006. The visit highlights IFC’s continuing commitment to its well-established partnership with Pakistan as well as to private sector development, poverty reduction, and employment creation throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Thunell met with government officials and private sector representatives and was accompanied by Michael Essex, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. Speaking at the signing, Thunell said, "IFC expects that our engagement with Tourism Promotion Services Pakistan will encourage additional private sector contributions that further improve the business-enabling infrastructure of the country."

Aziz Boolani, TPSP’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “This is the second AKFED-IFC investment in which the institutions have cooperated to develop a sustainable tourism industry in the region. The first was in the development of the Kabul Serena Hotel in 2004.” Aziz Boolani also mentioned that “IFC’s involvement with TPSP will represent a major step toward opening up TPSP's equity base to minority shareholders.”

About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit