November 9, 2012

IDAL Investor Newsline – October 2012

 October 2012


Dear Readers,


We are approaching the end of 2012, and with it comes preliminary figures on the performance of the Lebanese economy for this year. According to the IMF, Lebanon has so far seen a 2% growth in GDP, a 10% increase in income per capita, and a 9% increase in imports from the port of Beirut among other positive economic indicators. This encourages us, along with other sub-national and national players, to continue in our efforts to promote Lebanon as a viable investment destination.


In this issue you will also find a snapshot of the lucrative Pharmaceutical market, which is expected to reach USD 1.73 billion over the next 4 years in terms of market size. Special attention was given to the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Lebanon, which is spanning between 8-30 November and through which entrepreneurs are encouraged to participate at in order to create linkages, network, and get the right information for the advancement of their ideas.


I hope you enjoy this issue. For any feedback do not hesitate to contact us.

Best wishes,


Nabil Itani  

Chairman and General Manager

Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL)

As we are approaching the end of the year, 2012 figures on Lebanon’s economy has started to emerge, below is a brief of the main economic indicators as described by the International Monetary Fund (IMF):


  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated Lebanon’s GDP growth at 2% for 2012. The country’s current economy exceeds USD 41 billion, up from USD 22 billion in 2006.
  • As for the income per capita, it rose by 10% during 2012 to reach USD 10,452.
  • Public debt is still stable.
  •  The economy’s growth is being stimulated by the decline in interest rate that dropped down by 30% since 2005.
  • The number of tourists decreased 15% while passengers across Rafic Hariri International Airport grew up by 6% which means that travelling to Lebanon by land decreased but arrivals by air rose.
  • Customs imports boosted up by 5% and the port of Beirut imports increased up by 9% in 2012 compared to the previous year.

Gas discoveries to boost Lebanese economy


Recent off-shore gas discoveries in Lebanon is an important development that would boost the Lebanese economy. Seismic surveys of suggest the presence of 12 trillion cubic feet of gas, an amount that, if extracted, could meet Lebanon’s electricity production needs for 99 years.


Lebanon already entered the gas exploration stage, and is technically ready to start issuing licenses to get the process of natural gas extraction started.


After spending over USD 21 billion on fuel imports in the past five years, energy independence would be able to transform Lebanon’s fiscal and economic picture significantly and end the heavy reliance on costly diesel generators, estimated at 38% of private electricity consumption.


Pharmaceuticals market at USD 1.3 billion in 2012, growth projected at 7.6% over the 2011-2016 period


The Lebanese pharmaceutical market reached USD 1.28 billion in 2012 up from USD 1.2 billion in 2011. The market size is expected to reach USD 1.73 billion over the period 2011-2016 growing at a CAGR of 7.6% during the same period. This increase is mainly due to the booming of Pharmaceutical sales and the rising demand of  Lebanese importers who are continuously looking for new suppliers.

There is consequently a very large and competitive market in Lebanon for a whole range of Pharmaceutical and over-the-counter products regarding the high spending of Lebanese households on drugs. 70% of the Lebanese market  consists of imported pharmaceuticals and that prescription medicines represented around 73% of total market value last year as per BMI. It is worth  noting that Lebanon was ranked in seventh place globally regarding its spending on pharmaceuticals and that is equivalent to 2.94% of GDP according to the same source.

The majority of registered medicines in Lebanon are imported, mostly from France, UK, Germany and Switzerland.
As for the exported products, they are destined to Arab countries such as Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and UAE.
If you have a pharmaceutical investment project in mind in Lebanon, do not hesitate to contact us, as you might benefit from incentives and business support services.
So far, 5 companies benefited from IDAL’s incentives, amounting to USD 50 million in investment size, and creating 400 direct jobs and 1160 indirect jobs.


One of IDAL’s mandates is to promote the export of Lebanese products, among which are IT products, as this sector falls within the organisation’s sectors of interest.


As such, we are activating our role in fostering business linkages between local and international firms.  The objective is to help Lebanese companies have access to regional and international markets by exporting their products and services or by serving as an outsourcing base to multinationals firms.


IDAL is identifying companies who wish to subcontract their activities to Lebanon to benefit from cost savings and the unique talent present among  the Lebanese  workforce.

We are  offering our matchmaking services to international companies to benefit from Lebanon’s potential in ICT as well as to local companies interested in accessing new markets  and new international partners.

If you wish to benefit from IDAL’s services and expand your business by exporting to new markets, please do not hesitate tocontact us.



Are you planning on starting a business and need legal and financing advice?


IDAL and Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program are putting at your disposal experts in business law and finance to answer your questions and concerns on setting up a business.

You will also get the chance to meet successful entrepreneurs in Lebanon and abroad who rose to the challenge and took their businesses to the next level.

Join us on Monday 12 November from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the new Beirut Digital District for an afternoon of knowledge sharing, hands-on training, and networking.


Topics Covered

Steps for setting up your business

Financing your business

The gaming industry-announcing the winner of a gaming competition

How you can benefit from tax breaks

Learning from the mistakes of others


Speakers and Contributors


Mr. Evert Hoogendoorn- Strategist and Game Designer at ijsFontein

Mr. Robert Fadel- President, Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program

Mr. Hero E.G. de Boer – Ambassador, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Lebanon

Mr. Roger Melki- Advisor to the Minister of Economy

Mr.Marwan Malek, Owner of Pharma M – Pharmaceutials

Mr. Georges El Aily , Co-Founder of Greenisis

Mr. Karim El Khoury, Founder of ViaMobile

Ms. Reine Abbas , Co-Founder of Wixel Studios

Mr. Youssef Fares, Founder of Olive Trade

Me. Walid Hanna, Legal Consultant at IDAL


This event is free of charge. Register now.


In every upcoming issue, we would like to highlight the regional and international success of an innovative Lebanese company in one of Lebanon’s sectors with growth potential. The globalization of these companies highlights the opportunity for Lebanon to become an outsourcing destination for high value-added services due to Lebanon’s qualified labor force and competitive labor costs which is categorized to be among the lowest in the region.


This month’s success story within the Digital Media sector will be dedicated to Sword Lebanon.



SWORD logoSword Lebanon is a software development company committed to delivering IT Offshore services to customers across the world. It was established in Lebanon in 2000 and is part of Sword Group, headquartered in France.


During 12 years of working with the European Market, Sword Lebanon delivered large scale projects to clients such as Orange Telecom, Swiss Government, Omega Watches, Swatch Group, UBP Bank, Nestle, etc… These projects were mainly in the area of CRM, Business Intelligence, and Transit and Enterprise Application Integration.


Sword Lebanon offers services to develop applications from scratch, re-engineer existing applications, and application management support services for existing applications that can be taken from customers then rebuilt.


Sword Lebanon is currently expanding their operations in the Middle East.


Support to the Agro Food Sector

SIAL ParisIDAL has sponsored the Lebanese Pavilion at this year’s SIAL exhibition in Paris, where over 6,000 international companies were present, representing 100 countries. This trade exhibition represents a major platform for export opportunities for Lebanese Agro Industrial products.
The presence of the Lebanese Pavilion at such a trade exhibition is a firm belief in the strength and competitiveness of Lebanon’s Agro Food industry.


 Forum de L’Investissement

Forum de L'InvestissementLebanon, through Solidere, Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture , and IDAL, has been represented at the Forum de L’Investissment in Paris.

The Forum brought together investors from Europe and the world to discuss  latest investment trends and shed light on investment opportunities available.  IDAL headed a panel session on “Investment in Lebanon” where Chairman Nabil Itani presented Lebanon’s encouraging investment climate and lucrative economic sectors.

 Visit of Italian and Japanese Ambassadors

Japanese Ambassador

Chairman Nabil Itani has met with the Japanese and Italian Ambassador; to look into means of enhancing economic relations between both countries respectively; whether through trade or foreign direct investment.

 Australian Delegation

Australian delegation presentationAn Australian delegation of businessmen visited Lebanon by invitation from the Australian-Lebanese Joint Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture in Beirut.

The delegation which comprised mainly of Lebanese expats came to Lebanon for a scoping visit, and to look for possible joint ventures and export opportunities. IDAL, who was present during the event presented Lebanon’s economic climate and various investment opportunities.

The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) is the national investment promotion agency of Lebanon. 
Established in 1994, IDAL aims at promoting Lebanon as key investment destination and attracting, facilitating and retaining investments in Lebanon.
IDAL reports to the President of the Council of Ministers which exercises a tutorial authority over it.