Lebanon is in dire need of improved infrastructure and public-private partnerships (PPP) have long been seen as a way of pushing projects forwards in spite of the country’s difficult financial situation.
Even before the blast that took place on 4 August and devastated large swathes of Beirut, Lebanon was in the midst of its worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war, with the Lebanese pound collapsing in value.
On 27 July, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the Government of Lebanon’s credit rating, citing the country’s severe economic, financial and social crisis.
The ratings agency noted with concern that the level of economic activity was plunging quickly, inflation was skyrocketing, and an increasing share of the population was being left with neither a job nor income prospects.
On 7 September 2017, Lebanon’s parliament passed Law 48 regulating PPP, hoping that it would help to develop transport, telecommunications, water and sewerage, and other infrastructure projects.
The law was developed with the aim of attracting foreign direct investment and bringing specific expertise to Lebanon.
It also instituted a legal framework that was, to a certain extent, in line with international standards.
The 2017 PPP law was developed with the aim of attracting foreign direct investment and bringing specific expertise to Lebanon
Lebanon has a long history of using structures that resembled PPPs.
In the late 1950s, the Beirut-Damascus road became the first infrastructure project in the Middle East to use a PPP-style structure.
In the 1960s, Lebanon continued to use this structure to develop projects.
During this period, Beirut’s port was one of the key projects implemented using a PPP-style structure.
In 2000, the government passed the Privatisation Framework Law (228/2000) and increasingly began to pursue private participation in infrastructure projects.
This law set out the general framework for privatisation, including PPPs, and established the Higher Council for Privatisation. This later became the Higher Council for Privatisation & PPP under the 2017 law.
Prior to the 2017 PPP law coming into force, there were regular transparency issues with projects, which made some companies wary of getting involved.
> Algeria: PPP framework fails to modernise
> Bahrain: Manama ramps up its PPP plans
> Egypt: Mixed results for Egyptian PPPs
> Iraq: Crises and protests curb Iraq PPPs
> Jordan: Construction sector eyes PPP opportunities
> Kuwait: Corner turned on water and power schemes
> Lebanon: PPPs offer route to recovery
> Morocco: Rabat reforms legislation to spur PPPs
> Oman: Muscat risks PPP confidence loss
> Saudi Arabia: Riyadh refocuses PPP plans
> Tunisia: PPP plans draw broad support
> UAE: PPPs expected to take off in UAE
> Other GCC: Gulf state bolsters legislation to drive PPPs
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