Beirut Arab University – Tripoli Branch organised a lecture under the title “The Financial Situation in Lebanon: Challenges and Opportunities” lectured by the First Vice-Governor of the “Banque du Liban” –Lebanon’s Central Bank- Mr. Raed Sharafeddine and attended by former M.P. Mosbah Ahdab, Former Minister Nicolas Nahhas, Dr. Mostafa Helweh representing former Minister Mohammad Safadi, Dr. Saaddine Fakhouri representing Major General Ashraf Rifi, Dr. Hassan Dinnawi representing Ms. Raya Hasan, President of the Tripoli Municipality Mr. Ahmad Kamareddine, President of Al Mina Municipality Mr. Abdel Kader Alameddine, President of the Lebanese Order of Physicians in the North Dr. Omar Ayyash, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Khaled Ziedeh, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Hasan Saad, Executive Director of Lebanon’s Central Bank Branches Mr. Georges Sayegh, Vice-President for Tripoli Branch Affairs Professor Khaled Baghdady, Deputy Secretary General for Tripoli Branch Affairs Mr. Mohammad Hammoud, Head of the BAU Alumni in the North and Tripoli Branch Coordinator Mr. Ahmad Sankari, bank directors, accountants and a crowd of interested audience. In his lecture, Mr. Sharafeddine discussed the general financial situation in Lebanon, highlighting the public finance, monetary policy and financial stability together with the challenges and opportunities that this reality entails. He pointed to the "financial challenges in terms of public finances, growing public debt and disruption of debt sustainability estimated by $80 billion or 160 percent of the gross domestic product GDP. However, this debt challenge is still contained, given that the public debt is mostly internal. The most fundamental and difficult challenge is embodied in the general budget deficit which reached 3.8% in 2017, equivalent to 7.1% of the GDP. This deficit is expected to reach about $4.8 billion, or 8.8% of the GDP in 2018.” Sharafeddine also spoke about the negative effects of the Syrian crisis on the Lebanese economy and asserted that “the strengths of the financial landscape are represented in the traditional monetary policy and financial stability through the regulation and development of the financial banking sector and the preservation of the integrity of the financial-banking system from any risks, i.e. non-traditional monetary policy.” For Sharafeddine, opportunities in the financial landscape lie in:

  • First, benefiting from the financing capacity of the Lebanese banking sector.
  • Second, benefiting from the remittances of the Lebanese expatriates.
  • Third, building on the knowledge economy and the Lebanese human capital.
  • Fourth, getting ready to participate in the reconstruction phase in Syria through the establishment of industrial, service and commercial projects in the border areas.
  • Fifth, the Lebanese oil and gas reserves which represent a historic opportunity for the advancement of the Lebanese economy.
  • Sixth, developing the mechanisms of exploiting the hydro and electric power in Lebanon as compatible with the region’s nature and the climate.
  • Seventh, launching projects and developing systems to protect the Lebanese environment which is one of the distinctive features of Lebanon.

Sharafeddine concluded, “Lebanon is rich with resources as well as financial and human capital. However, it lacks the good management of these resources and the necessary political will to meet the challenges, build on the strengths and benefit from opportunities. This is what the Central Bank is striving to achieve, being a national monetary authority that aspires to meet and complement other initiatives from all parties concerned with the renaissance of the homeland and the dignity of the citizen.” At the end of the lecture, Sharafeddine was presented with BAU Honorary Shield.