Hotels can be destinations or places to stop on the way to someplace else. They can be single purpose or multipurpose, combining event facilities, dining and meeting places, overnight accommodations, and local shops and trades. The more functionality that can be centered on the hotel structure, the better the chances for success and benefits to the community.

With this in mind, International Finance Corp. (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has entered into an agreement with Protea Hotels Zambia, a subsidiary of conglomerate Union Gold Zambia, to build and operate a hotel and conference center in the outskirts of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. The new hotel will help meet the growing demand for business infrastructure in Zambia, while creating jobs and opportunities for hotel services and goods providers.

The Protea hotel will have 249-rooms and a large, multi-purpose event venue for up to 2,500 people. The hotel is expected to employ around 300 persons and will source many of its goods and services locally from Zambian businesses. The hotel will be managed under a Protea Hotels by Marriott franchise agreement, training local staff in global best practices on hospitality. Protea Hotels is one of Marriott’s 30-plus brands, and widely recognized in Africa’s hospitality sector. There are close to 100 Protea hotels in nine African countries: South Africa, Zambia, Nigeria, Namibia, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, and Algeria. The brand is classified as mid-market by international standards.

More than 1 million tourists visited Zambia in 2017, up from 362,000 in 1998. Diversification of the mining dependent economy through tourism is a key strategy for the government.

IFC is contributing $9 million toward the financing of the hotel, out of a total project cost of $30 million. In addition, IFC will provide advisory services on corporate governance and food safety, and help small and medium enterprises integrate into the hotel’s supply chain. The hotel will incorporate industry green building standards, leveraging IFC’s Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) tool. EDGE helps property developers optimize building designs, to maximize energy and water efficiencies that can save money while conserving resources. EDGE is employed across the continent by various companies.

The Protea project is part of IFC’s wide-ranging support to Zambia’s private sector. IFC has invested close to $100 million in the country’s economy, in critical sectors like manufacturing, banking, hospitality, and agriculture.

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