IFC's North Africa and Horn of Africa Director Cheick-Oumar (center L) speaking with Aysheshim, an Ethiopian investor who has engaged in various business ventures in neighboring South Sudan, after signing the loan deal on Monday. (Photo © IFC Africa)
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IFC Invests $7.5mln in Expansion of Juba’s Dembesh Hotel

ADDIS ABABA – Dembesh Hotel, owned by an Ethiopian investor based in South Sudan, has received a $7.5 million loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to finance its expansion and renovation.

The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced the investment in the Hotel on Monday, stating the finance is a part its support for the development of South Sudan’s tourism infrastructure.

The loan will help finance the hotel’s renovation and expansion, creating jobs during and after the construction phase, the Corporation says.

The $7.5 million investment comprises a $3.75 million loan from IFC’s own account and a $3.75 million concessional loan from the blended finance facility of the International Development Association’s (IDA) Private Sector Window.

The expansion and renovation of the hotel, located close to government offices, embassies, and commercial centers in South Sudan’s capital, will make it more attractive to business travelers and tourists, helping meet growing demand for high quality accommodation in Juba.

The project is expected to create 100 jobs during the construction phase and 50 jobs once the hotel is operational.

“IFC’s investment in Dembesh Hotel signals to the international investment community that South Sudan is open for business,” said Ayesheshim Teka, CEO of Dembesh Hotel and recipient of the 2022 Africa Economy Builders Awards.

“This hotel has long been a preferred destination for public and private sector leaders visiting South Sudan,” he said, adding that its expansion and renovation “will raise standards of the local hospitality sector.”

The investor further states that the hotel will be rebranded to the international chain, Best Western Plus, after the completion of the renovation project.

IFC says it will also provide advisory services to help the hotel reduce its environmental footprint through improved energy and water efficiency – and to become EDGE certified. EDGE is an IFC green building certification system focused on making residential and commercial buildings more resource efficient.

“IFC’s investment in Dembesh Hotel is a vote of confidence in South Sudan’s future,” said Cheick-Oumar Sylla, IFC Director for North Africa and Horn of Africa.

“The hotel will provide much-needed accommodation for business travelers and tourists visiting Juba, creating jobs and boosting economic activity,” Cheick-Oumar added.

The IFC officials say the investment in Dembesh Hotel is part of the institution’s broader commitment to support areas affected by fragility and conflict. IFC has pledged that, by 2030, 40% of its annual commitments will be in IDA-eligible and Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situation (FCS) countries, and that 15-20% of these investments will be in IDA countries that are classified as very low-income and FCS.