IDB approves US$25M loan for construction of EBD mega complex

…project to provide over 200 jobs for locals

Unicomer Caribbean, through its sister company, Redstart Guyana, has secured the financing for the construction of its Riverplace Complex Mall pegged for Farm, East Bank of Demerara.
The project is being financed through a partnership with the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) valued at US$25 million.
The 50,000 square feet retail and commercial facility will house Unicomer flagship stores such as Courts Mega Store, RadioShack, Courts Optical, and Ashley’s Furniture Home Store.
The complex will also house over 40 other entrepreneurs who will establish stores, ranging from eateries, gym, international-branded shopping centres, and international food chains, among others.

Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh alongside representative from Unicomer Caribbean and Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) as they signed the US$25M loan agreement

Unicomer Caribbean Vice President Errol Leblanc said the goal is to streamline the retail giant’s presence on the local market and benefit exponentially from Guyana’s growing economy.
On this point, he explained that the investment coincides with the government’s development plan for Guyana, which will position it as not just an oil and gas country, but a destination of choice for tourists and visitors.

An artiste impression of the mega complex

“Unicomer’s investment in Riverplace supports the government’s growth initiative, leverages the support of international organisation such as the IDB, demonstrated Unicomer’s mandate to facilitate continuous growth and development in the countries in which we do business and fulfill our commitment to enhance the lives of the Guyanese people,” Leblanc said.
“This investment will result in a state-of-the-art mall in its first phrase which will continuously upgrade, hopefully with funding from IDB with future expansions led by modernised architecture and technological developments,” he added.

Expanding business opportunities
Meanwhile, IDB Group Country Representative, Lorena Solorzano said IDB Invest will play an important role in supporting Unicomer Guyana Int’l sustainable growth, and expanding business opportunities for local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
With the construction of the commercial complex, the company is expected to employ approximately 100 new persons during construction, which will generate more local employment. Additionally, the construction includes a strong focus on sustainability by using LED Energy, solar panels, and local materials to leverage the local construction supply chain.
“During the construction it is expected that 100 jobs will be generated while on the completion of infrastructure another 100 job. This financing is to strengthen the domestic value chain, it is expected that Unicomer also double the number of domestic, micro and medium enterprise suppliers in the country,” the IDB Group Country Representative explained.
The project’s Environmental and Management Plan will also focus on continuous improvement of the company’s Environmental and Social Management Systems (ESMS), alongside emergency response, and occupational health and safety policies and procedures.
The project is also expected to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG Eight: Decent Work and Economic Growth; SDG Nine: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities and SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals.

Confidence in Guyana’s development
According to Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh, the investment, which is the largest single transaction issued by IDB Invest in Guyana, comes at yet another juncture in the country’s economic history.
He contends that the initiative also displays the organisation’s confidence in Guyana’s rapid and unprecedented development.
Dr. Ashni credits this accomplishment to the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) administration’s “proper management of the country’s resources” and steadfast approach to sustainable development.
“Prior to 2020, IDB invest had not approved a single project in Guyana or for Guyana for several years. From 2020 to date, IDB has invested projects totaling $173 million US dollars for Guyana, for Guyanese companies and for companies operating in Guyana… I am happy that you have done a transaction at this scale but you know my views, I would urge you to do even more going forward,” the Senior Finance Minister urged.
Unicomer presence in Guyana’s retails market started in 1993 with the establishment of Courts, which provides hire purchase services.
The company has since expanded its presence in Guyana and has disclosed interest in establishing four additional facilities in 2024.
One being a 250,000 square foot facility at Houston, East Bank of Demerara that will support Courts’ expansion.
The facility which is slated to be built will be constructed on 50 to 60 acres of land and will be equipped to handle not just products for Courts but other businesses as well. It will be equipped with transportation, heavy lifting equipment, and container yard and storage facilities, among other amenities. (G1)