Al Rowad Holdings

A launchpad for brands in North Africa - a new start for Libya


When we were introduced to Al Rowad, they were a little-known but well-respected shipping agent and freight-forwarding business based out of Misurata, Libya willing to bet on the growth of domestic retailing. They are now well on their way to becoming the leading franchise partner of globally recognised brands across North Africa and the Southern Mediterranean.

Taking our client from ‘good idea’ to the opening of their first store in December 2015 neatly covers the scope of the project, but the challenges were enormous – the first of which was simply to convince ourselves the project was even possible.

In 2013, Libya was experiencing a fragile recovery from civil war and it was far from clear what lay ahead. The retail market, though thriving, was small and limited to one or two streets in the capital, Tripoli. Our client, although a trusted partner of various global shipping firms including Maersk, had no meaningful retail credentials to offer.

The political, economic, and security situations were completely unpredictable, but we were stunned by the motivation and commitment of Al Rowad’s leadership. On his hopes for his company and country, Mr Bashir Al Shabah, owner and founder of Al Rowad, said:

“The economic and cultural benefits of a thriving commercial sector where people are free to express their choices are clear to me. But there remains much work for us to do; to rebuild our cities, to restructure our economy, and to restore the confidence that was hidden for so long, but which still characterises our people.

Retailing has an incredibly important role to play here and I am excited by the opportunity this presents for my colleagues, our partners, and for Libya as a whole.”

It was impossible for us not to get behind a mission statement like that, so we got on the first plane to Tripoli.

What we found was a solid commercial base to build a retail business upon – an existing domestic and international logistics network, ownership of prime real estate, and, importantly, a progressive business culture.

We developed a compelling business case for retail expansion in North Africa and put in place attractive reasons why retailers should choose Al Rowad as their partner. We prepared research and developed the strategy. We hired the executive team and have brokered franchise deals which have set Al Rowad on course to become the leading operator in their region.

What we’re most proud of is helping to create a commercial retail sector in a troubled country, and giving the people of Libya what they need – job opportunities, training, and a sense that things will get better.

“Retail Management Consultants needs to change their name, as to us they’re certainly not a consultant, they’re a partner.

They’ve been instrumental in assisting us in building our retail business, connecting us with top international retailers, recruiting industry veterans to manage these brands, and conducting critical research for new markets we plan to develop.

They believe our success is their success, and it’s clear in their work ethic, they’ve worked around the clock to deliver our goals. I would recommend RMC to anyone serious about growing or developing their retail business… you can rest assured that you’re in good hands!”

Ahmed Kalush
VP Business Development, Al Rowad Holdings