President Michel Aoun said Monday that projects aimed at stimulating Lebanon's economy and building its infrastructure would be given priority when allocating aid from the World Bank, during a meeting with a delegation from the international financial institution.
Aoun met with World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Ferid Belhaj and MP Ibrahim Kanaan to discuss Lebanon’s economic situation and the outcome of the CEDRE conference, a statement from his media office reported.
Held in Paris in April, the CEDRE conference aimed to support Lebanon's economy and encourage investment. It resulted in an $11 billion aid package on behalf of Lebanon while Lebanon committed to a series of reforms.
Aoun said in Monday’s meeting that the government has already enacted critical political reforms, such as updating the electoral law, which will be accompanied by economic reforms, including initiatives aimed at activating the productive sector.
Another step Lebanon has taken, Aoun said, was the passage of two state budgets in less than a year, after 12 years went by without a state budget, he was quoted as saying.
The president also stressed that fighting corruption would be a top priority for the next government, which he said he hoped would be formed soon. Since the prime minister-designate was tasked with forming a new government in May, there have been several warnings that the delay in government formation could negatively impact the economy.
Although Aoun has previously admitted that the economy wasn’t growing as it should, he has also rejected claims that Lebanon was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Aoun thanked the World Bank for its continued assistance to Lebanon and for financing necessary development projects in the country. Belhaj said the World Bank has allocated a portfolio of $2 billion to help Lebanon, in line with priorities set by the Lebanese government. The World Bank also pledged $4 billion to Lebanon at CEDRE.
The Daily Star