(www.mbendi.com)IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced its one hundredth hotel investment in Africa with a $5.5 million financing package to hotel company, Opulent (B) Ltd., to develop the first DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels in Burundi. The hotel will help improve the country’s essential business infrastructure by providing international-standard rooms and conference facilities.
Thanks to its newly implemented reforms in areas such as protecting the investors, paying taxes, getting construction permits and resolving insolvency, Burundi now offers a business environment more conducive to investments like international hotels. The reforms, supported by the World Bank Group’s Investment Climate team, were recognized in this year’s IFC/World Bank Doing Business 2012, where Burundi was ranked the 7th most improved economy in the world and jumped eight places in the ranking.
IFC’s investment will support the renovation and rebranding of the former 106-room Novotel Hotel and transform it into a 4-star, 138-room DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton, employing 155 staff. Opulent is one of the region’s emerging hotel operators and has previously developed DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar in Tanzania.
Mr. Ayaz Ali Jivraj, Director, Opulent, said, “Burundi’s business boom is attracting more travelers seeking quality hotel rooms and conference facilities. The DoubleTree’s key location in Bujumbura’s central business district, along with Hilton’s quality guarantee, will build confidence among business travelers and help place Burundi at par with other commercial hubs in East Africa.”
Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC’s Director for East and Southern Africa said, “At a time of growing economic interest in Burundi, the Hilton franchise will improve business infrastructure and accommodation. In Africa, IFC’s hotel investments are creating an average of 1.5 to 3 jobs for each hotel room and have major multiplier effects on local economies. Hotels generate foreign currency and tax revenue, and provide supply chain linkages to local farmers and suppliers. Hotel employees receive training in management, customer service, language and culinary arts, developing lifelong skills.”
Mr. Oscar Chemerinski, IFC Director, Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services Department, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “Since 1956, IFC has invested more than $2.5 billion in 251 hotel projects – 100 of them in Africa. Along with increasing investment in local economies, IFC’s hotel projects in Africa have helped boost the tourism sector, generating much-needed jobs, and have contributed to economic diversification and sustainable growth.”