Hypermarket chain Auchan has opened a branch in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, with financing support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The 5,000m² hypermarket will be operated by Schiever Tajikistan, a subsidiary of the French Schiever Group that which holds the Auchan franchise in the country.
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon inaugurated the Auchan hypermarket.
Schiever Tajikistan general manager Frédéric Lobbé said: "This opening represents a revolution for Tajikistan. Our Auchan hypermarket will be a popular store for everyone, offering a large choice of quality products at affordable prices. It is going to improve the country's food security."
This is the first Auchan hypermarket in Central Asia.
EBRD invested €5m in the project, which includes a long-term loan and an equity investment, thereby becoming a minority shareholder in Schiever Tajikistan.
EBRD director and head of operations in Tajikistan Richard Jones said: "This is a hugely important project. Offering quality products at discount prices, Auchan has already struck contracts with more than 200 local suppliers, setting the foundations for a new stage in the development of agri-food value chains and exports.
"The determination of Schiever's management to take this ground-breaking project beyond today's opening offers a powerful demonstration of the positive impact of foreign investment: setting new industry standards, enhancing transparency, creating some 400 jobs and bringing direct benefits to consumers."
Schiever Tajikistan initally plans to import majority of food products from Russia, where Auchan is a leading retailer. With help from the EBRD's agribusiness advisory services, it aims to source local products in the future.
Image: The 5,000m² hypermarket will be operated by Schiever Tajikistan. Photo: Courtesy of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.