Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Lebanon dropped by 23 percent last year to $2.87 billion, according to a report recently released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Meanwhile, FDI outflows increased by 20 percent to $690 million in 2013, according to the UNCTAD report.
“Lebanese are looking for investment opportunities elsewhere due to a stagnant economic situation at home. It’s currently not the best environment,” said Roger Melki, an economic consultant.
Melki said Kafalat just issued a recent figure saying that loans in the tourism sector have dropped by 34 percent, indicating lower investments in this vital field. “Lebanese are going to the Gulf region where they invest in ICT, Food and Beverage (F&B), Media and Entertainment and to Africa where they focus on Hospitality,” said Melki.
Dozens of restaurant owners are investing in the Gulf region, either through direct implementations or as franchisors.
“Real estate, the dominant and traditional focus of FDI inflows, is suffering,” Melki said. Registration and construction permits have dropped by 30 percent compared to four years ago while transactions are down 20 percent.
“Other sectors as well have suffered from a dearth of inflows, like hospitality, distribution and the medical industry, all waiting for a more positive investment climate,” Melki said