The raft of new investments in Lebanon launched under the incentive schemes provided by IDAL reflect the strength of the Lebanese economy and the increasing trust placed by investors in the country’s promising economic environment, stated Nabil Itani, Chairman and General Manager of the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL). He urged investors to take advantage of the many opportunities emerging from a growing economy, and expressed confidence that successful execution of important IDAL-supported projects will catalyze increased presence from business owners, multinational companies and investors.
Itani’s statement came at a press trip organized by IDAL on Monday June 12th 2006, to showcase some of the projects benefiting from Investment Development Law 360, brought to force in end 2003 to stimulate investment in Lebanon.
“The current regional economic boom, driven by factors such as high oil prices and a strong real estate sector, is resulting in investor-friendly conditions that form a critical phase for furthering Lebanon’s economic prosperity. We must take full advantage of current economic progression by making greater efforts to attract Arab investment to all sectors of the Lebanese economy by showcasing the prosperity and stability of the country and highlighting the competitive nature of sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, information technology and communications; all of which boast innumerable high worth investment opportunities,” said Itani.
Lebanon’s tourism sector has witnessed significant growth in recent times and still holds many opportunities for investors. Hand in hand, the hospitality industry is expanding to cater to higher tourist influx, and has thrown up many high return investment options in the areas of conference tourism, medical tourism and environmental tourism.
The industrial sector is also witnessing leaps in progress, driven by new investment opportunities particularly for sectors with high export rates, such as jewellery, equipment, food, chemicals, cement and printing products. The investment in the industrial sector has witnessed robust overall growth in the last couple of years, as testified by the increasing number of industrial machinery imports that have risen from 104 million dollars in 2002 to 142 million in 2004, representing a jump of 36.5 percent.
“ICT is a key target sector for us as it plays a vital role in uplifting other economic activities, particularly as Lebanon makes strong advances in software development. Opportunities for investment include call centres, internet centres, commercial e-trade networks, shared media and education centres, remote education and telemedicine.”
Itani noted the large number of projects enjoying IDAL’s incentives under the incentives provided of Investment Law 360 and added that an investments portfolio worth more than 1 billion dollars has benefited from the law’s provisions since the Decree came into force, in turn creating up to 4,000 jobs. These projects belong to various industrial sectors, with tourism constituting 59 percent of all investments, industry forming 13.6 percent, technology 13.6 percent, food 9.1 percent, and IT, telecomm and media combining to take a 4.5 percent slice. In terms of financial outlay, tourism alone is worth 96 percent of total IDAL-supported investments.
45.5 percent of projects launched under IDAL’s umbrella are situated in Beirut with Mount Lebanon and Bekaa hosting 31.8 and 18.2 percent respectively.
“IDAL is fully prepared to support diverse projects in Lebanon, and aims to pay unsurpassed attention to investors and businessmen willing to establish new projects or enlarge existing ones. We seek to facilitate their businesses, cater for their needs and provide all the information they require,” Itani added.
The press trip itinerary included the Bab El Saray, Hilton, Grand Hyatt, Penta and Habtoor Land projects, with officials involved in the projects provided detailed overviews of each. The trip was concluded with lunch at Habtoor Land.