Press Releases

IFC and World Bank Help Lebanon Develop a Plan for Attracting Investment

In Cairo
Thomas Moullier


In Beirut
Julia Brickell

Beirut, 21 March 2007 - The Foreign Investment Advisory Service, a joint initiative of the World Bank and IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has launched a report on how to streamline administrative procedures for private investment in Lebanon. The report highlights the procedures investors must follow to set up a business, including licensing, operating, and locating procedures.

The report analyzes each procedure and makes recommendations for streamlining or improving it, based on international best practice. On licensing, the report indicates that the procedures are overregulated and too time-consuming for the public and private sectors; it recommends identifying less challenging ways to monitor businesses.

The report also finds that despite some progress, administering taxes remains complex and that closing a business is too time-consuming and costly. The report notes that reforming the reporting and inspection systems and getting rid of any duplication would reduce administrative procedures dramatically and that Lebanon would benefit from a more sustainable and systematic approach to land and site development procedures that reduce transaction cost and promote investment.

The report is part of a broader assistance program launched by the World Bank and IFC to improve the business environment in Lebanon. It complements Investment Climate Assessment, a World Bank project managed by IFC’s advisory services facility, IFC PEP-MENA, to streamline business registration procedures.

“Following up on these recommendations by FIAS and broadening the reform agenda would be a valuable effort that will strengthen Lebanon’s private sector,” said Jesper Kjaer, general manager of IFC PEP-MENA.

About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit


IFC PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for technical assistance that supports private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa region. IFC PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening financial markets, supporting small business development, and promoting privatization and public-private partnerships. From its inception through FY06, IFC PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in technical assistance and advisory services projects. Its activities are funded jointly by IFC and the following donors: Canada, France, the Islamic Development Bank, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.