$200 million financed
by European Bank
Energy and infrastructure projects are targeted
The investments made by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will reach more than $100 million in its first year of operation in Lebanon, according to Alain Pilloux, EBRD’s Vice President for Banking. The bank plans to double this amount next year and has ambitious plans for the future as there is no upper limit for its investment, Pilloux said.
Locally, EBRD has so far invested $75 million.
The multilateral bank plans to finance projects in the energy sector, especially renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. Funding energy projects will be done through loans. Renewable energy projects will be primarily financed through medium-term loans because contracts are signed for long periods of time such as 20 years.
EBRD is one of many international finance institutions looking at the projects of the Capital Investment Program (CIP) presented at the CEDRE donor conference in Paris.
EBRD plans to participate in financing the development of three local industrial zones in partnership with the Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB). EBRD will provide loans to the government to develop the infrastructure in these zones, which are part of the CIP program. EBRD has already carried out due diligence work on two zones, one located in Baalbek, the other in Terbol, near Zahle. EIB has already approved financing for these sites and EBRD plans to fund them as well. A third site is currently being assessed.
In addition to loans in foreign currencies, EBRD intends to also provide loans in liras in the future.
EBRD will engage with more local banks because it needs partners who know the country. “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,” said Pilloux. The bank plans to launch an SME advisory program.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
Date Posted: May 16, 2018