ISLAMABAD: The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will invest the equivalent of $25 million in Pakistani rupees in one of the country’s top fashion retailers to create jobs, promote gender equality and support the crucial textile sector post-pandemic.

This investment is part of a broader effort by the IFC to support the development of Pakistan’s private sector, which is key to creating opportunities and combating poverty in the country, IFC announced on Saturday.

Since 1956, IFC has invested over $1.2 billion in Pakistan, helping to support smaller businesses and spur the development of renewable energy, hydro, and wind energy projects.

The investment is designed to support the development of Pakistan’s retail and textiles sectors, which provide 40 per cent of employment and account for about 9pc of the country’s gross domestic product. About 30pc of those who work in the textiles sector are women and supporting the industry will help promote gender equality in Pakistan.

The IFC investment for a minority stake in Khaadi Corporation, which has 57 retail outlets spread across Pakistan and presence in the United Kingdom and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The funding will help the company accelerate its growth by expanding its retail footprint and online global sales. It will also indirectly support the retailer’s suppliers in Pakistan, many of whom are smaller businesses, an IFC press release said.

“We are excited to begin the next chapter of our growth transformation with IFC’s first investment in the Pakistan fashion retail sector. We envisage this investment will help us set new benchmarks in organising the retail sector in Pakistan and beyond, through strategic initiatives to drive growth, corporate governance, and diversity,” said Shamoon Sultan, founder and CEO of Khaadi Corporation.

“The textiles and retail industry is a core part of Pakistan’s economy and a major employer of women, especially in the garment sector,” said Zeeshan Sheikh, IFC Country Manager for Pakistan and Afghanistan, while highlighting the need for partnering with innovative companies.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2022

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