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Bogota, Colombia, October 30, 2019—
In Colombia, low and middle-income customers, who represent the vast majority of the population, are increasingly demanding access to affordable, quality food. To this end, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, approved a $93 million loan in Colombian Pesos (about COP330 billion) to Ara Tiendas, a Colombian proximity food discounter. The financing will help Ara Tiendas expand its discount grocery stores across Colombia, create jobs, boost local supply chains and give consumers a cost-effective place to shop for quality food.
Ara Tiendas, also known as Ara, is part of the Portuguese food retail group Jerónimo Martins SGPS, S.A., and currently operates 578 stores throughout Colombia. IFC’s financing will support the company in opening new stores and warehouses on the Caribbean Coast, in the coffee growing region, and in Bogota and Western parts of the country, respectively. This expansion is expected to create new job opportunities for local communities and women.
As Ara sources most of its own brand products from local suppliers, most of which are Small and Mediums Sized Enterprises (SMEs), the financing will also boost local private sector activity. In addition, Ara aims to increase the share of local products it offers and will invest in training programs to help local suppliers reach its high-quality standards.
“Companies like Ara Tiendas contribute to the development of dynamic and strong supply chains, including in frontier regions, and play a significant role in creating new jobs," said Gabriel Goldschmidt, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. "Ara's efforts to develop alliances with local SMEs will have a positive impact on the development of the rural sector in many regions of the country," Goldschmidt said.
The financing also shows IFC's efforts to support Colombia's economic development, having invested and mobilized more than nine billion dollars in the country since 1956. IFC’s strategy for Colombia aims to provide support to key private sector actors who support the development of the country by creating new jobs and promoting SMEs.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. In fiscal year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
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