ISLAMABAD: International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, on Thursday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for investing $16 million in the expansion of Serena Hotel and the construction of an adjacent office complex.
According to a press statement issued here, 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. International Finance Corporation’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. Lars Thunell, head of International Finance Corporation, signed the agreement during his first visit to Pakistan since joining IFC in January 2006.
The visit highlights International Finance Corporation’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 will further improve the business-enabling infrastructure of the country.”