Alain Pilloux is the vice president for banking at EBRD, or the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, whereby Pilloux revealed that the bank has made a $75 million investment in Lebanon so far, while the amount will escalate into over $100 million by the time it completes one year of “operations in Lebanon”. The bank further has plans of carrying on with its financial supports towards Lebanese projects as it even aims to take the investment amount to $200 million by next year.
The plans of EBRD are to financially support the “development of three local industrial zones” through loans to “the government in partnership with EIB”, the latter being the European Investment Bank based out of Luxembourg. Furthermore, it has been reported that these “zones are part of the CIP program (Capital Investment Program) which was presented at the CEDRE donor conference in Paris on 06 April 2018”.
The main sectors that come under the target of EBRD for lending its financial support includes “water resources, infrastructure, electricity”, and renewable fields, while the plan is to develop these sectors through “private sector, banking sector, such as credit lines”. In the first stage of this operation, EBRD is going to collaborate with the banks in Lebanon, while Pilloux was quoted saying: “By teaming up with local banks as intermediaries it is easier to reach small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Later on, we will work directly with local businesses”.
EBRD is operating in Lebanon from the month of September 2017 and as such it has partnered with several Lebanese banks, like Bank Audi and Fransabank. While, Shanda Consult Ltd informed: “EBRD, established in 1991 as an international financial institution to invest in different projects and to extend credit lines to commercial banks. The bank offers a broad range of financial instruments mostly in 3 forms: loans, equity and guarantees”.
While, the website of EBRD mentions the focus areas in Lebanon, provided in the “following objectives” as mentioned by the Shanda Consult Ltd:
• 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.