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Economic & Social Priorities and Opportunities for Lebanon in the Reconstruction of Syria


May 2016

Dr.Nabil Sukkar, Managing Director of SCB made a presentation with the above title at a Conference in Beirut held at the BIEL Center on May 31. The presentation, which was in Arabic, is attached and below is a summary of it.

The presentation divided post conflict reconstruction into two phases, an early recovery phase, which goes hand in hand with a peace building phase, and a reconstruction phase, which goes hand in hand with a state building phase. The first phase, which could last up to five years, includes political, social and economic dimensions. The political dimension includes efforts at cessation of violence, reuniting the country and establishing new governance institutions; the social dimension includes national reconciliation efforts, delivering humanitarian aid and settling returning and displaced refugees; the economic dimension involves restoring basic livelihood services, jumpstarting the economy and rebalancing the country’s macroeconomic framework.

The second phase (the reconstruction phase) includes rehabilitating and rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and the physical and human capital that was destroyed during the war, upgrading public institutions, and continuing of the country’s economic, social and human development process. This phase has no time span, and components are interrelated.

The two phases above and their various components are closely linked, and the success in one component is affected by success of other components. Also the success of both phases depends on a) success in restoring security and stability, b) the type of new government in place, and c) availability of external technical and financial assistance.

As for Lebanon, restoring security and stability in Syria will no doubt benefit the economy of Lebanon, especially the country’s tourism and trade sectors. Furthermore reconstruction will create huge economic opportunities for Lebanon and will render economic benefits that will compensate Lebanon for the suffering it encountered as a result of the Syrian crisis. Lebanon could become the Hong Kong of Syria again, at least for ten years following the end of the Syrian crisis.  Opportunities are numerous and below are examples:

- The ports of Beirut and Tripoli will benefit from expanded trade, linked to Syria’s economic recovery and reconstruction.

- opportunities for the Lebanese engineering, contracting and construction companies in the fields of infrastructure, real estate, housing, industry and transport.

- opportunities for the banking sector, supporting Lebanon’s new business opportunities in Syria.

- opportunities for the Lebanese banking sector in the Syrian emerging banking and financial sector, and

- opportunities for skilled Lebanese labor in all Syrian economic sectors.

Finally the two countries should seize the opportunity of Syria’s post conflict recovery and  reconstruction to work towards integration of the two economies, a target that was not possible in  pre 2000 Socialist Syria.


Read full paper in Aabic