In Lebanon we focus on:
- Supporting private sector competitiveness by improving the environment for private sector development and increasing the scope of available financial instruments
- Promoting sustainable energy supply, fostering energy sector reforms and enhancing energy efficiency
- Enhancing the quality and efficiency of public service delivery and supporting private sector participation in public infrastructure
Business opportunities for the Bank in Lebanon will depend on political initiatives and reforms pursued by the country as well as on regional geopolitics.
Initially, the Bank’s focus will be on financial institutions and the corporate sector, particularly Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
The Bank will also engage in extensive policy dialogue with the authorities in cooperation with other international financial institutions to foster reforms in the infrastructure and energy sectors to encourage the private sector participation, pave the way to substantial future investments and to develop the business environment.
Lebanon became a shareholder of the EBRD on 14 July 2017 and a EBRD Country of Operations on 4 September 2017.
Current EBRD forecast for Lebanon’s Real GDP Growth in 2023 1.0%
The unyielding political deadlock continued to deepen Lebanon’s economic and financial woes in 2022. The economy is estimated to have contracted by 4 per cent in 2022, with little progress on critical reforms and challenges exacerbated by rising energy and food prices, as well as supply chain disruptions. A partial recovery in tourism offered some reprieve from the otherwise bad economic news. Uncertainty surrounding a potential IMF-supported programme has increased as key requisite reforms stalled, thus keeping Lebanon locked out of international markets, with official reserves being further depleted. The official exchange rate was devalued by 90 per cent to LBP 15,000 per US dollar on 1 February 2023. This did not eliminate multiple exchange rates as the parallel exchange rate plummeted further to LBP 131,500 per US dollar in March 2023. Global inflation and repeated reductions in the few remaining subsidies have left large segments of the population in poverty, facing electricity and fuel shortages and with limited access to basic commodities. Inflation continued to be at triple- digit levels, averaging 183.8 per cent in 2022.
The economy could return to growth in 2023, projected at 1.0 per cent, conditional on overcoming political hurdles and progressing towards an IMF-supported programme, which would also allow negotiations to resume with international partners. In 2024, GDP is expected to grow by 3.0 per cent provided the reform momentum gathers pace.