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IFC PEP-MENA – Event Brief Doing Business in 2006: Improving Lebanon’s Business Environment


In Beirut:
Julia Brickell
Tel: +(961) 1 987 800
Email: jbrickell@ifc.org

In Cairo:
Samar Alshorafa
Tel. + (202) 574 8189
Email: salshorafa@ifc.org


The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade are sponsoring a conference, “Doing Business 2006: Improving Lebanon’s Business Environment,” on November 14, 2005, in Beirut, Lebanon. The initiative is being organized by IFC’s technical assistance facility in the Middle East and North Africa, PEP-MENA.

The conference will assess the extent to which Lebanon’s business regulations present an impediment to the private sector, review how Lebanon’s regulatory environment compares to other countries in the region, and discuss specific reforms needed to improve the country’s investment climate.  The conference is part of a larger program to reform Lebanon’s business-enabling environment; it will be followed by meetings with policymakers and stakeholders to discuss potential areas of technical assistance from IFC. The aim is to improve Lebanon’s attractiveness as a location for private investment; the event is part of the economic reform program of the country’s new cabinet.

The conference agenda derives from “Doing Business in 2006: Creating Jobs,” an annual report issued by the World Bank and IFC that compares the ease of doing business across 155 countries. The report ranks Lebanon 95th overall, based on the time and number of procedures needed to pay taxes, hire and fire workers, get credit, register property, deal with licenses, trade across borders, start or close a business, protect investors, and enforce contracts.  The Doing Business presentation will be delivered by Michael Klein, World Bank Group Vice President for Private Sector Development and IFC Chief Economist.  Klein directs the team that prepared the report.

IFC’s PEP-MENA initiative is strongly supported by Lebanon’s Ministry of Economy and Trade, and the conference will take place with the attendance of H.E. Minister Sami Haddad. As part of the Ministry’s reform plans, the aim is to allow all relevant stakeholders to voice their concerns and engage in fruitful dialogue on the difficulties faced in conducting business.  Industry and government officials will be the conference’s main speakers, and participants will include businessmen and others from the private sector, business associations, and chambers of commerce. The event will help the World Bank Group identify areas that need immediate reform efforts and will be followed by high-level meetings with Lebanese policymakers in various fields, in order to mobilize the resources needed to improve the country’s business environment.

The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

The Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa (PEP-MENA) is IFC’s technical assistance facility supporting private sector development in the region. It focuses on improving the business-enabling and regulatory environment in the region; strengthening the financial sector; promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises and their support services, such as business organizations and consulting firms; helping restructure and privatize state-owned enterprises; and developing viable private sector and public-private partnership projects, especially in infrastructure.