In a series of five consecutive roundtable discussions, organized by Executive Magazine in partnership with USAID, over 50 experts and key players from manufacturing to knowledge enterprises gathered to discuss the most pressing issues in Lebanon.
The five industries discussed were previously selected by a project steering committee comprising high-powered Lebanese experts in development economics, finance and management.
The five roundtables focused on the following industries:
Food processing and agro-industrial production
Media, publishing and content creation
Food and beverage and hospitality
Technology and knowledge enterprises
Participants explored various solutions, including opportunities to export goods and services. They tapped into organizing the private sector to seize opportunities, and plan/take actions with the support of the donor community.
Participants also ventured into Lebanon’s financial solutions, from equity funding in fresh dollars by foreign and diaspora investors to mobilizing bank dollar funds (lollars) that are held in Lebanese bank accounts. Other financing avenues presented by roundtable participants pertained to impact investment and the role of the Cedar Oxygen ESG fund.
The overall stakeholders’ objective of the project is the publication of a comprehensive report and action plan under a consultative and collaborative Lebanese approach.
The report and action plan are scheduled for completion and release within three months from when the five roundtables took place.
Among recurrent topics that came up throughout the five roundtables was the need for a structured system: a government that would provide support to these industries in regulating the fluctuating value of the Lebanese pound and facilitate incoming funds from BDL and outside investors.
While most roundtables saw the fulfillment of public sector responsibilities and enactment of a reform-oriented government as an absolute necessity, participants expressed their determination for self-reliance and the pursuit of private sector initiatives.