TOP 5 REASONS TO INVEST IN LEBANON
Lebanon, with its official non-interventionist stance toward private investments, offers one of the most liberal investment climates in the Middle East. The economic openness of the country is harnessed through the absence of legal restrictions on the entry or exit of many firms, encouraging free market competition and furthering the development of the private sector.
There are innumerable reasons to invest in Lebanon, however, as a tribute to the country’s 70th independence year, we have picked the top 5 most lucrative reasons to invest:
1. Low restrictions on Capital Flows
The absence of restrictions on capital flows, a main feature of our liberal financial system, is reflected in Lebanon’s leading position at par with developed countries such as Finland and Singapore, as Lebanon ranks 4th worldwide in this area.
2. Competitive Business Environment
The country’s pro-business environment, in which it takes only 9 days to open a business and 37 procedures to enforce a contract, in addition to a cost competitive structure have made Lebanon an attractive business destination.
3. Highly-skilled and Educated Workforce
A highly skilled workforce is the foundation to a successful business. Lebanon offers the most educated labor force in the region with the highest number of graduates. It also ranks4th worldwide in its quality of Math and Science education and 10th worldwide in its overall quality of education.
4. Strong Banking Sector
It has one of the most solid and safest banking systems, as reflected in the soundness of banks indicator, which is one of the highest, ranking 12 th worldwide after Singapore and Chile.
5. Market Access
Strategically located at the intersection of Europe, Asia and Africa, Lebanon can provide companies easy access to regional and global markets. Lebanon has a long tradition of openness to the international community, with close ties to the Arab world, Europe and America. Since 1992, Lebanon has ratified 54 treaties for the promotion and protection of investments. Lebanon has agreements with 32 countries for double taxation avoidance and the prevention of fiscal evasion on taxes from income and capital.
THE OLIVE OIL INDUSTRY IN LEBANON: A PROFITABLE CULINARY TRADITION
Olive oil is amongst the most prominent Lebanese signature agro-industrial products, and a proud part of the country’s history and culinary tradition. Lebanon’s diverse topography, fertile soil, microclimates, and olive varieties allow farmers to produce uniquely flavored products. The surge in the importance of this industry has prompted IDAL in March 2012 to add this staple to the list of goods that could benefit from the organisation’sAgri Plus Program. Since then, export of olive oil has risen by 24.2% by end of September 2013 compared to 2012 levels, and the export value has risen by 28.5% (i.e. 4,162 tons) in 2012 compared to 2011 levels. This is a clear indication of the increase in the global demand for olive oil, which has led the organisation to work closely with the producers and stakeholders to ensure that packaging and production are at par with international standards.
KEY FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Around 563 km2 of land or 56300 ha1 is occupied by olive trees, which accounts for 5.4% of the Lebanese territory, or 8% of total agricultural lands in Lebanon
- Olive groves are grown in six major regions extending from North to South: Batroun, Koura, Zgharta, Akkar, Rashaya El Foukhar, and Hasbaya, in addition to several other subordinate areas
- Lebanese olive trees are on average 150 years old, and are mostly rain fed (Only 8% of the olives cultivated area is irrigated, the rest is rain fed)
- Around 70% of the olive trees are destined to the production of olive oil, and the remaining ones are destined to the production of table olives
- The oil productivity of the olives in Lebanon ranges from 18-25%
- In 2011, olive production was estimated at 90,307 tons, while olive oil production reached 11,300 tons, growing consistently by a CAGR of 6.5% since 2000
Overall, the olive oil market in Lebanon is a very promising one, whose full potential hasn’t yet been reached. Presently, demand far exceeds supply in the country, and Lebanese consumers are sometimes forced to rely on imported products. This leaves room for various investment opportunities.
Production of extra virgin olive oil, flavored or not, and organic olive oil, both hold favorable prospects. At the same time, exporters can benefit from government support, part of IDAL’s Agri Plus program. The program provides support for packaging, and assists Lebanese producers in tapping foreign markets by organizing training sessions, and participating in food fairs around the world. Finally, other factors such as skilled labor, devoted research (eight agricultural colleges and various laboratories for testing across Lebanon), and a number of public and private support initiatives, also make investments in olive oil highly attractive.
For more information on the sector.
VISITING WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
The President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman met with Chairman of IDAL, Mr. Nabil Itani.
The Chairman discussed with the President the findings of the 2012 Annual Report and briefed him on the achievements of the organisation and the plans and vision of the coming year.
VISITING WITH THE PRIME MINISTER
Caretaker Prime Minister Mr. Najib Mikati also met with Chairman of IDAL, Mr. Nabil Itani to discuss the findings of the 2012 Annual Report, the organisation’s achievements and future plans. IDAL reports to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers which exercises a tutorial authority over it.
TOUR OF OLIVE OIL PACKAGING HOUSES IN TRIPOLI
Our team visited main packaging houses and producers of olive oil in Tripoli especially those that made major improvements to their areas of operation in order to meet international standards. The tour also included a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture and Industry to coordinate regarding empowering the economic zone in the city.
JAPANESE AMBASSADOR VISIT
Chairman of IDAL, Mr.Nabil Itani, has met with the Japanese Ambassador to Lebanon. The meeting tackled the invitation to take part in the Arab-Japanese Forum in Japan on Dec 16-17 and the possible investment of Japanese companies in the pharmaceutical sector.