Sunday 08, April 2018 by Nabilah Annuar

Lebanon secures pledges for funds worth $10 billion

Pledges include $4 billion in World Bank loans, EUR1.1 billion ($1.35 billion) in loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the renewal of a previously pledged $1 billion credit line from Saudi Arabia.

Lebanon has obtained pledges of grants and loans exceeding $10 billion at a conference in Paris, reported Reuters. Lebanese finance minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, highlighted that the conference was aimed at rallying international support for an investment programme to boost the country’s economy.

According to Lebanese officials, the pledges included $4 billion in World Bank loans, 1.1 billion euros ($1.35 billion) in loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the renewal of a previously pledged $1 billion credit line from Saudi Arabia.

The country is seeking the funds for investment to overhaul its infrastructure and to lift economic growth, which Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said has sunk to less than one per cent from a previous average of eight per cent.

In turn, donors in turn want to see Lebanon commit to long-stalled reforms, reported Reuters. Reciprocating to this, Hariri has pledged fiscal consolidation to reduce the budget deficit—more than 150 per cent of gross domestic product at the end of 2017—by five per cent during the next five years.

The IMF in February pointed out that Lebanon’s fiscal policy needed a consolidation plan that stabilised debt and then began to reduce it. International support is required for the country’s investment plan and to carry out reforms to root out corruption and to improve fiscal governance, among other goals. Diplomats at the forum have reportedly iterated Lebanon’s success in attracting international support from donors and the private sector will hinge on reforms.

 

  

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