IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), are providing loans of $60 million each for a benchmark urban development project in West Cairo that is expected to create more than 2,400 new jobs. The loans will be complemented by a $20 million loan from the Commercial International Bank (CIB), a local Egyptian bank.
The funds will be used for the completion of the Mall of Arabia shopping center, one of Egypt’s largest retail complexes, in 6th of October City, a strategic new urban community developed to ease overcrowding in Cairo. The first phase of the project opened in 2011. The second phase, due to open in September 2015, will expand the center’s total leasable area by 58 percent, taking it to 174,000 square meters, and adding more than 200 new retail brands.
The project’s completion is expected to push the total number of direct and indirect jobs created by the center to 6,300, from the current figure of 3,880. The majority of jobs will be earmarked for young people, helping to address the high level of youth unemployment in Egypt. More than 1,200 temporary jobs are also expected to be created during the construction process.
The Mall of Arabia is owned by Egyptian Centers for Real Estate Development, which is owned equally by three brothers from the Al-Hokair family in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The three also own Saudi FAS Holding, a leading Saudi Arabian group focusing mainly on the retail and real estate sectors.
Muhanad Awad, CEO of the investment and financial arm of Fawaz Alhoakir group, said: “This is our first mall outside Saudi Arabia and, as such, a very significant project for us. We believe that Egypt has great potential and we are happy to be working with IFC, EBRD and CIB to help develop and modernize the retail sector there.”
“IFC is committed to helping Egypt achieve sustainable growth and expand job opportunities through the development of the private sector. This project will not only create jobs, in particular, for the young people who need them most, but will also help improve demand for local goods and services, and boost the urban development and retail infrastructure of the area,” Nada Shousha, IFC Country Manager, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, said.
Claudia Pendred, Director for Property and Tourism at the EBRD said: “This project is important for Egypt. It will provide much needed training and employment opportunities especially for women and youth. It will also strengthen market standards in Egypt.”
IFC’s strategy in Egypt focuses on increasing opportunities for employment generation through private sector development and fostering more broad-based and inclusive growth. Between FY11-14, IFC invested a total of over $1 billion in 15 projects in Egypt.