Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lebanon: Next Big Success For Middle East??

I have been watching Lebanon for a long time. So much potential. So many problems. The problems, as most of you probably know, include:

- A 15 year civil war that began in 1975 and did not end until 1990. This war destroyed much of Lebanon's global reputation as a major hub of the Middle East. The war also scared investors away,

- The assassination of Rafik Hariri in 2005,

- The 2006 Lebanon War. Although this war was short, it began July 4th '06 and ended with a ceasefire on August 14th '06, a great deal of damage was done- and of course potential investors were once again scared off.

Even with all of the above, Lebanon is attracting many investors and many Mega Projects are being planned and built. Why? Lebanon offers many, many advantages for those willing to take a risk. I will now list some of these advantages as given by IDAL, the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon:

1. Strategic Geographical Location. At the center of the Eastern Mediterranean, Lebanon is uniquely situated at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe,

2. Free Market Economy. Lebanon’s free-market investment policies, liberal economic environment and active entrepreneurial private sector distinguish it from other countries in the region,

3. Investment Guarantees. A number of national and international organizations with local and international expertise protect investments against non-commercial risks,

4. Liberal Financial Environment. With a free foreign exchange market, full currency convertibility, complete repatriation of capital and a regulated banking secrecy law, Lebanon is the ideal country for business development,

5. Developed and Non-Discriminatory Legal Framework. Lebanon benefits from a sophisticated legal framework, which protects the rights and assets of both Lebanese and non-Lebanese investors alike,

6. Untapped Investment Opportunities. Lebanon offers a wide array of investment opportunities in all sectors of the economy, while its unique location provides access to a large and booming regional market,

7. Moderate Tax Rates. With a 15% corporate tax rate, Lebanon’s fiscal charges are among the lowest in the world,

8. Qualified Human Capital. Lebanon’s principal asset is the competence of its human resources. Lebanon offers a well-educated, multi-lingual and multi-skilled workforce, considered one of the most qualified in the Middle East,

9. Expanding Infrastructure. With a state-of-the-art telecommunications system, a fully operational electricity network, a new airport, enlarged and refurbished port facilities and an ambitious road rehabilitation program, Lebanon has one of the best infrastructures in the region.

These advantages have not escaped the watchful eye of many of the Great Mega Developers including Emaar, DAMAC, Kingdom Holding and many others who have projects being planned and/or developed in Lebanon. In fact there are many, many Mega Projects being planned and going up in Lebanon. Here is a partial list:

- 1330 Park Avenue
- Bank of Kuwait & The Arab World
- Bay Tower
- Beirut Cultural and Conference Center (BCCC)
- Beirut Gardens
- Beirut Gate
- Beirut Tower
- Beirut Trade Center (BTC)
- Burj Kronfol
- Capital Plaza
- Dalal Building
- Four Seasons Hotel
- Garden View
- Grand Hyatt Beirut
- Habtoor City
- Horizon Tower
- Joseph Aoun Offices
- La Residence
- Marina Towers
- Moukhtara Residential Building
- Nova Towers
- Park Palace
- Pavilion Elite
- Platinum Tower
- Qoreitem Gardens
- Ritz Carlton Hotel
- Royal Hill
- Saifi Square
- Shams Beirut
- Shayboub Tower
- Siran Towers
- Société Sémiramis
- Sodeco Mixed-Use Complex
- Solidere Rotana Suites
- The Capital Gardens
- The Pavilions
- Wadi Grand Residence
- Wadi Hills Residences
- Zeino Tower 1 & 2

It should become clear from the above list that to many investors the potential rewards outweigh the risks for investment in Lebanon. Even though the future of Lebanon is not entirely clear at this point, I do feel this country has great potential and could even rise to become the next big success of the Middle East. Therefore I am adding coverage of Lebanon to this blog.

In this post I have given you an overview of Lebanon. In future posts I will zero in on particular Lebanon Mega Projects.

This link takes you to the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) website:


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