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Tuesday 20th March 2018

UAE’s ‘World Government Summit’: A Unique Economic Opportunity for Lebanon

Politics

7Dnews London

Fri, 08 Feb 2019 16:07 GMT

The head of Lebanon’s newly formed government, Saad Hariri, will be taking part in the seventh World Government Summit, scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai.

Lebanon, after successfully ending nine months of political bickering by finally forming a new national unity government, has to carry out major financial reforms to rescue it from its economic woes.

The global summit, from Sunday, February 10 to Tuesday, February 12, has the huge participation of 4,000 high-level officials from 140 different countries, 600 world-famous speakers, and more than 120 presidents and officials from leading international companies, is a major opportunity for Hariri to make a case for his country, and lobbying for its economy and successful future.

Hariri will be given a chance to brief the attendees, especially Arab and Gulf business leaders, on the planned infrastructure projects that are expected to soon launch, after the unlocking of $11 billion in pledges from international donors. This was made to Lebanon at the conference in support of Lebanon’s development and reform, CEDRE, in Paris last April, which was made on condition of addressing much needed reform in the areas of corruption, government subsidies and public-sector spending.

The aid package will be available after the Lebanese government lays out an investment plan for the development of its primary public service sectors, namely energy, water, infrastructure, environment, and education, as well as encouraging the private sector.

Nadim Manla, one of Hariri’s senior advisors, describes the World Government Summit as an “opportunity for the premier to talk about the future of Lebanon, the challenges facing the country's economy and to encourage businessmen, especially in the Gulf region, to participate in infrastructure rehabilitation projects.”

Manla, speaking to 7D News, said Hariri will exchange ideas and engage in positive discussion in a session on Lebanon. He added that Hariri will also seek to invite Arab companies to come to the Middle Eastern country.

The innovative summit therefore offers Lebanon the new chances it needs. It will bring together a number of leading heads of state, government officials, thinkers and entrepreneurs, to share their experiences in seven key areas, exploring the future of technology and its impact on governments, health, quality of life, environment and climate change, education and labour market.

The Lebanese economy over the past years, especially since the outbreak of war in neighbouring Syria, has been teetering under the weight of political differences, poor management, and a refugee crisis.

It faces the threat of caving under the pressure of its debts which amount to $85 billion dollars, equivalent to 150% of its GDP, and it has high unemployment rates and stagnant growth.

Manla says Hariri will make the most of the opportunity presented at the summit, promoting initiatives that could brighten Lebanon’s economic future, especially in terms of attracting investors.

Hariri will be meeting with top Gulf investors and members of the Lebanese community residing abroad at the summit.

Middle East