The President of the Council of Ministers, H.E. Mr. Saad Hariri gave his official support to the 22nd edition of Project Lebanon, confirming the exhibition’s position as the largest business event in the country.
Project Lebanon 2017, the International Trade Exhibition for Construction Materials and Equipment for Lebanon and the Middle East, was officially inaugurated today at BIEL – Beirut, by the Minister of Economy and Trade, H.E. Mr. Raed Khoury, on behalf of H.E. Mr. Saad Hariri, in the presence of VIP attendees including foreign ambassadors, dignitaries, commercial attachés, government officials, and media representatives.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Group Chairman, Mr. Albert Aoun, said that Project Lebanon, launched in 1995, “has been welcoming international firms looking to expand their business networks in Lebanon and the region”. Adding that the “election of our new President, H.E. Mr. Michel Aoun, and the government’s efforts under the leadership of H.E. Mr. Saad Hariri, with the resulting improved political situation and the record economic outlook, reflected positively on Project Lebanon this year; especially that construction and related businesses are still the country’s largest and most dynamic sectors.”
Mr. Aoun continued that “as the situation recovers and our country embarks on a new journey, Project Lebanon is welcoming around 450 companies from 21 countries including exhibitors from Cyprus, France, Hungary, India, Italy, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey;” and “with more than 22,000 visitors, Project Lebanon is one of the largest specialized business events in the region. The trade show is held concurrently with the 7th edition of Energy Lebanon, the International Trade Exhibition for Power, Electrical Engineering, Alternative Energy, Lighting, and HVAC.”
Mr. Aoun also noted some of the highlight events and features of Project Lebanon 2017, including:
Syria Business Forum: held on May 17 at 5 PM under the title “Post-crisis Syria”, and in collaboration with UN-ESCWA representatives, as well as Lebanese and international experts, the conference will discuss the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon, and the latter’s challenges, opportunities, and role in this context.
EcOrient Series: this year’s conference is dedicated to exploring renewable energy and discussing the implementation of the National Renewable Energy Action Plan by 2020. A subject that is of great importance today, especially after the Ministry of Energy and Water launched the open call for Expression of Interest (EOI) to the private sector to participate in building Solar Photovoltaic (PV) farms in the country. Up until last March, the Ministry received 173 EOIs to develop solar polar in 265 locations across Lebanon. The conference will be held on May 18 at 5 PM.
The Start-Up Pavilion: an all-new space dedicated for Lebanese start-ups to share their innovations and technology, and engage with industry leaders. Although the pavilion is open for visitors throughout the exhibition, Friday night (May 19) starting 5 PM is devoted to a series of panels and conferences about the booming Lebanese start-up industry.
H.E. Mr. Raed Khoury, Minister of Economy and Trade – Speech
His Excellency Mr. Raed Khoury expressed his privilege and honor to be representing HE Mr. Saad Hariri at the opening of Project Lebanon 2017, adding that “the exhibition speaks for itself. Project Lebanon proved through the years its success in bringing together more than 450 international companies and over 20,000 visitors, making it the main platform to all stakeholders from the construction, electricity, environmental technology, and related-industries.”
He continued that “the construction sector is one of the most dynamic and essential for the Lebanese economy, contributing more than 15% to the GDP, playing a primordial role in the economic development, and impacting other economic sectors. The construction sector has a valuable social role in terms of providing the necessary infrastructure to achieve economic growth and sustainable development, in addition to creating job opportunities for engineers, architects, manufacturers, and distributors. Herein lies the importance of Project Lebanon that highlights the construction and real estate industries, and the need to develop both within environmental and sustainable standards.”
Mr. Khoury underlined the “fundamental role the private sector plays in creating a free market and its active contribution in the economic and social growth, reducing unemployment and creating job opportunities. And this exhibition is a great example of how private initiatives drive the Lebanese economy.” He further stressed the “necessity of benefiting from the positive environment in the country to develop a national strategy that lays out the policies, plans, and programs related to the construction industry, in addition to offering the legal and environmental frameworks needed to boost market competition and achieve sustainable development.”
Mr. Khoury also underlined the different activities held concurrently with Project Lebanon, focusing on the Start-up Pavilion, adding that “strengthening Lebanese start-ups as well as small and medium-sized enterprises is a major priority for both the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Economy and Trade, especially given the importance of reinforcing innovation and profiting from Lebanese talents in building the future.”
“It is time we stop youth migration and benefit from their capacities in the country, he added. An economy that grows under the hands of youth is one characterized by continuity, variety, innovation, and dynamism since the youth is the backbone of our society and our country’s future. We should lay the ground and provide the necessary mechanisms and frameworks to boost the youth’s talents and conserve it, making them active influencers in the country’s development and stability.”
Mr. Khoury ended his speech by thanking the organizers, wishing them another successful edition this year.
Following the opening speeches, and in recognition of their continuous support to Project Lebanon, IFP Group presented Honorary Awards to each of the Italian and Turkish ambassadors; Mr. Massimo Marotti, and Mr. Çağatay Erciyes respectively, as well as the French ambassador, Mr. Emmanuel Bonne, represented by the head of Business France in the Middle East, Mr. Marc Cagnard.
In that context, Mr. Aoun added that throughout the years, Project Lebanon received the support of many bodies that had, and still have, a unique role in the success of the exhibition”; mentioning in particular: the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture; the Lebanese Contractors Syndicate for Public Works and Buildings; the Order of Engineers and Architects; the Association of Lebanese Industrialists; the Syndicate of Marble, Granite, and Cement Products Industrialists.
In honor and recognition of their continuous efforts to energize the Lebanese economy despite turbulent situations, Mr. Aoun, on behalf of IFP Group, presented Shields of Honor to:
• Mr. Mohamed Choucair – Chairman of the Federation of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Lebanon
• Mr. Maroun Helou – President of the Lebanese Contractors Syndicate of Public Works and Buildings
• Architect Jad Tabet – President of the Order of Engineers and Architects
• Dr. Fady Gemayel – President of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists
• Mr. Nazih Najem – President of the Union of Owners of Marble, Granite and Cement Plants
The opening ceremony concluded with a tour around the venue of Project Lebanon that will be running until Friday May 19 at BIEL, Beirut.