UAE businesses must return to Lebanon

UAE businesses must take major roles in investing in Lebanon’s utility, telecom and energy sectors, according to Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri.

“The UAE stood by Lebanon in good and tough days … and we are here to fortify our cooperation by creating partnerships between our private sectors,” Hariri said. “We wish and hope the Emiratis invest in economic projects in Lebanon,”

The premier was helming the UAE-Lebanon Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi, which also saw senior ministers in his cabinet and Lebanon’s central bank governor Riad Salama attend.

“Last year we set a road map and plan on how to develop,” Hariri said in a speech at the opening of the Forum. “Lebanon still has an opportunity despite the arduous conditions it is enduring.

“Lebanon takes pride in its private sector … but the UAE private sector is also affluent and together we can do a lot. Lebanon pursues to be the same in terms of development and growth,” Hariri said.

Hariri asserted that Lebanon will commit to implementing the decisions taken at the “Cedar” conference in Paris last year and moreover, keep up with the plan of action drawn up by the consultancy McKinsey to recuperate inward investments. The “Cedar” conference had won pledges of $11 billion (Dh40.3 billion).

Lebanon offers Emirati investors “investment prospects not available elsewhere in the world” and “a hub for rebuilding in the region”.

“We are here to strengthen our cooperation, especially between the private and public sectors,” said Hariri. “We should both be bartering investments and especially us, we also have to invest in the UAE. There are a lot of private sector projects that could be invested in, like railways, electricity and other projects.

“The UAE has been persistently developing and growing … Lebanon has the will and power to do the same. We should grow and develop ourselves although we have been late in doing so.”