Press Releases

IFC Sees Increasing Opportunities for Investment in Retail Sector of Emerging Markets

In Barcelona
Carmen Powell
Phone: + 34 650 02 5191

Barcelona, April 2, 2007 – IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, participated in the World Retail Congress, sharing its perspective on the increasing opportunities for investment in the retail sector of emerging markets. The congress, on March 28-30 in Barcelona, Spain, gathered the top leaders in the industry from across the globe.

“There is a tremendous business opportunity for retailers in emerging market nations, where incomes are rising and demand for consumer goods is growing. At the same time, the development of the retail sector in these nations will help create wealth and broader economic growth, further deepening the demand for goods,” said Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC’s Director of Global Manufacturing and Services.

Tsitiragos participated in the opening session of the congress as keynote speaker, along with industry leading players, including Sir Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco; Motoya Okada, President of AEON; Jim O’Neill, Global Head of Economic Research, Goldman Sachs International; and Ken Sumoner, Acting CEO, Visa International.

IFC (the International Finance Corporation) brings retail sector knowledge, regional expertise, and leadership in sustainability to benefit companies as they uncover the strong potential in these markets. IFC also offers a diverse range of financial solutions and products.

The major private sector source of financing in emerging markets, IFC entered the retail sector in 1994. Since then, the Corporation has financed 33 retail projects in 15 emerging economies, including China, Russia, and Turkey.  Its current portfolio in the retail industry is close to $600 million.

IFC’s investments in the retail sector in emerging markets include:
•        Ramstore (Russia): IFC has completed four investments since 1998 totaling $170 million for development of shopping centers anchored by Ramstore hypermarkets.
•        Disco/Cencosud (Argentina): Equity investment of $40 million in 2003 in financing the $315 million sale of Disco supermarket chain to Royal Ahold.
•        Wumart (China): In 2003, IFC invested $6.3 million equity in the IPO of this Beijing-based supermarket chain.

In addition to the opening address, IFC hosted a roundtable discussion with the delegation from China, to explore opportunities to tap into the nation’s massive purchasing power potential, while creating new jobs and cultivating local supply chains.

IFC’s Yazgan Musannif, Senior Industry Specialist, and Lukas Casey, Head of Retail, joined Mr. Tsitsiragos at the congress. IFC experts also discussed IFC strategy and projects in emerging markets.

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

About the World Retail Congress:
Created in response to the demands of retailers in both developed and emerging markets, and supported by major international players, including Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Carrefour, Ikea, AlShaya, AS Watson, and Best Buy, the World Retail Congress will bring together the world’s retail leaders for high-level debate with international policy makers. The aim is to drive growth in the global retail economy, promote the benefits of global retail excellence, and gain sustainable, competitive edge in domestic and international markets. With thousands of key retail professionals and politicians expected to attend, the focus will be on discussing and influencing the issues for change.  Further details at