October 9, 2012

IDAL Investor Newsline

 September 2012


Dear Readers,


Looking back at the last three quarters is a revelation. IDAL, despite various challenges that has to do with the regional climate, was able to attract 11 investment projects to Lebanon, 5 of which have already been approved by the Council of Ministers, generating a total of  USD 457 million worth of investments.

On the activities front, Lebanon has been bustling with action and we are at the centre of it. The opening of the Beirut Digital District, the launch of the Arab-European Economic Forum in Beirut, the on-going development of two leading hotel chains, as well as a collaborative effort between the private and public sector to compute FDI is only a snapshot of what we have been up to this past month.

I would like to shed light on my visit to the North of Lebanon recently, a region I believe has a lot of potential and investment opportunities in various sectors, especially Agro Food, Tourism, ICT, and Textile Manufacturing.


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)


In the first three quarters of 2012, IDAL has processed a total of 11 projects, 5 of which have already been approved by the Council of Ministers. Together, the projects have generated a total of   USD 457,489,267 worth of investments, which will contribute to the creation of 1,094 jobs directly, and 2,707 jobs indirectly. Despite the tense political situation in the region, the investment climate has been more than favorable this year. By comparison, in 2010 and 2011 combined, a total of 8 projects were approved, which garnered USD 93 million worth of investments, and 466 direct jobs. Evidently, there is a predominant confidence in Lebanon’s ability to weather times of crises.

Following the trends of 2010 and 2011, the industrial sector occupied the biggest share of projects, with 46% of the total. This impressive figure, which outweighs the traditional predominance of the Tourism sector, came as a result of various awareness campaigns targeting Lebanese industries specifically, in line with IDAL’s three-year strategy.
Amongst the approved industrial projects is Pharma M, a USD 1 million pharmaceutical company specialized in the production of high quality pharmaceuticals classified as dietary supplements. It will boast an R&D team that will develop the most innovative products in the market. Moreover, a single pioneering technology project, yet to be approved by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, will aim to establish an all-in-one medical center focusing on three main fields: therapy, cosmetic medicine, and medical banking, all based on the use of stem cells.


In terms of value, the Tourism sector has once again attracted the greatest bulk of investments with 88% of the total investment value. Notably, the international hotel chain Mandarin Oriental, expected to open its doors by 2017, will generate around USD 200 million worth of investments along with 250 jobs, both skilled and unskilled.


With respect to job distribution, projects in the Tourism sector will contribute to the biggest number of direct and indirect jobs, 717 and 1,739 respectively. They are followed by projects in the industrial sector, which will add 297 direct and 861 indirect jobs (Figure 2).


Job Creation by Sector

By type, 6 projects were Greenfields, 4 Expansions, and 1 Joint Venture (FIGURE 3). Moreover, in terms of incentive schemes, 9 projects applied for the PDC scheme, and the remaining 2 opted for IPZ.



Projects by type

As for the origin of investors that benefited from IDAL’s incentives, all were of Lebanese origin, except for one project, the Mandarin Oriental, a joint venture between Lebanese & Saudi investors. IDAL is currently working on attracting a wider range of foreign investors through investment missions, targeted workshops and campaigns.


BDD Launch 


In order to create a hub for technology, attract foreign investment and help retain young and talented Lebanese, a new technology center “Beirut Digital District” (BDD)  was launched by Lebanese Prime Minister Nagib Mikati.





The project is a joint effort between the private and public sector, spearheaded by the Ministry of Telecommunications in collaboration with Berytech and real estate development firm ZRE.


This new technology center, a high-rise building in the Bashoura district with 3,200 square meters of office space aims at offering advanced infrastructure to become the center for IT startups.

According to Nicolas Sahnaoui, Minister of Telecommunications, Beirut Digital District was conceived to attract foreign digital endeavors, boost local entrepreneurs’ opportunities, bring expatriates back home and ultimately contribute to the economic development of the area.


Three more buildings are expected to be completed by 2015 adding up to around 15 thousand square meters which will include office and retail space and a state-of- the- art fiber optic internet connection. Residents would also benefit from support and assistance in business development including accounting, training, targeted events networking, in addition to professional services such as auditing and legal advisory.
If you have an ICT project in mind and would like to benefit from the BDD services and our incentives, do not hesitate tocontact us for more information.



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 apps2you.





Based in Beirut, apps2you started operating in 2008 and is today one of the largest mobile applications and solutions company in Lebanon & the MENA region, working for various media companies, telecom operators, enterprises and content providers. Apps2you started with a team of 4 developers and now holds a team of over 20.


Apps2you offers complete end-to-end services for mobile application design and development across all major platforms including Apple iPhone, RIM’s BlackBerry, Google’s Android, as well as Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, and J2ME.  They also developed and deployed augmented reality apps using the Qualcomm technology, with whom they signed an MOU.


Apps2you projects are distributed 60% in Lebanon and 40% in the rest of the Middle East.  Since late 2010 and up till today,  apps2you has developed 47 projects for sectors other than the telecom operators services.


They has been growing, in the past few years with ongoing expansion plans that will involve the development and offering of additional products and services, around mobile technology and smart applications.


Workshop on Maritime Transport

Maritime workshop opening speechIn a close collaboration with the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture, IDAL organized a workshop on “Maritime Transport and Export of Agricultural Products ” in order to inform exporters, farmers and producers on the advantages of maritime transport as complementary  to land transportation following the current regional instabilities.



Tourism Projects, a Work in Progress

  Project visitsAs part of our quarterly routine to monitor and evaluate the progress of investment projects that benefited from IDAL’s package of incentives, Chairman and General Manager of IDAL Mr. Nabil Itani visited the Staybridge Suites Hotel and the Summerland Hotel and Resort currently under construction.  The development of those new hotels is a sign of confidence and trust in the tourism sector, as well as the investment potential of Lebanon. Both hotels have benefited from IDAL’s package deal which consists of a 10 year tax break, exemption from land registration fees, 50% reduction on work permits and more.

Visiting Investment Projects in the North of Lebanon

North Visit The north of Lebanon is abundant with investment opportunities across various sectors, especially the agro food sector . It has great potential for development and innovation  when it comes to industries such as olive oil packaging and beverages production.

Mr. Nabil Itani, Chairman and General Manager of IDAL, has visited the North to meet with key figures from the Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture, and Industry in Tripoli and BIAT, the leading business incubator in the North.

The visit also included a stop at Cedars Premium Food & Beverages, a factory that was in Lebanon since 1941 and has produced famous brands such as Kazouza and California Garden, exporting around 60% of its products to various regional and international markets. Cedars Premium Food & Beverages has benefited too from the package of incentives provided by IDAL when they decided to expand their business. The package deal consisted of a 10 year tax break, exemption from land registration fees, 50% reduction on work permits and more.

National Workshop on FDI Computation

FDI workshopIn its capacity as Lebanon’s investment promotion agency, IDAL, in partnership with ESCWA, held a National Training Workshop on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Computation in Lebanon. This stems from the need to have centralized and official statistics on the distribution of FDI by sector and the number of jobs generated as a result of foreign investments. Obtaining these figures will greatly enhance policy making and will enable the government to tailor its resources to sectors with growth potential.

An international expert provided hands-on training on FDI computation during the five-day workshop that brought together professionals and practitioners from the private and public sector.

The workshop was followed by the drafting of a proposal that will look into how stakeholders can work together to make FDI computation a national collaboration for accurate results.


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.