Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a nephew of Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, the current kink of Saudi Arabia, has recently received approval for a $26 million loan from the International Finance Corp. (IFC), a branch of the World Bank Group. The loan is meant to be used for the construction of a luxury hotel in Accra, the capital of Ghana.
The thing is, Ghana is a West African nation where 40 percent of the people struggle with poverty and a five-star hotel might just not be the best solution to the problem. To top it all off, the prince (also known as Prince Walid) is the 26th richest man in the world, according to Forbes. This makes it pretty difficult for IFC to justify their decision to grant the loan.
Prince Walid obtained it under an IFC program meant to encourage private developments in countries with a developing economy. The hotel will be erected in Accra’s central business district, near several commercial developments. It is expected to cost $103 million and it will boast 259 rooms. An explanation coming from IFC was that their loan will help “create jobs related to the construction and the eventual operation of the property” and that “the hotel is expected to source almost all of their food and nonfood purchases locally, thereby providing increased business opportunities to a wide range of local suppliers and subcontractors.”
This all sounds pretty good, however some critics can’t help but wonder for how long will the construction-related jobs be available. They also remember us all that hotels like this usually create a lot of low-paying service positions, which is not exactly the best solution to poverty. Controversies are many and explanations are plenty, but the fact of the matter is that since the loan has already been granted, all this talk and fuss is really in vain. The hotel will be made, the loan will have to be paid back and that’s it.