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 2022 1.0%
GDP in Lebanon is estimated to have contracted by 10.0 per cent in 2021, as the country continued to experience its most painful crisis in decades. Slow progress on negotiating an IMF-supported programme delayed much-needed reforms, thus limiting access to external sources of financing which could help shore up reserves. Against this backdrop, the authorities struggled to contain exchange rate depreciation and maintain subsidies on basic commodities, leaving large segments of the population to face electricity and fuel shortages, limited access to basic commodities and spiralling price rises. Inflation has picked up pace in recent months, growing by as much as 214.6 per cent year-on-year in February 2022, driven mostly by large jumps in food and transport prices.
A limited rebound in GDP growth of 1.0 per cent is expected in 2022, as the economic collapse bottoms out and the political deadlock eases following the May 2022 elections, allowing for some progress on reforms. However, increasing energy and food prices due to the war on Ukraine are expected to weigh negatively on consumption. The recent staff-level agreement on an IMF-supported programme raises hopes for an economic recovery based on some fundamental reforms, but formal agreement and disbursement are expected to face delays, particularly with serious central bank reforms and parliamentary milestones as prerequisites. In this light, economic recovery is expected to remain modest in the short-term, and GDP growth likely will not exceed 3.0 per cent even in 2023.