Friday, June 7, witnessed the closing of Project Lebanon 2013, the 18th International Construction Trade Exhibition for Lebanon and the Middle East at BIEL, Beirut; which was held under the auspices of H.E. the Prime Minister, and organized by IFP Group alongside two specialized shows; Energy Lebanon, the 3rd International Trade Exhibition for Power Generation, Electricity, Lighting and HVAC; and EcOrient, the 2nd International Trade Exhibition for Environmental Technologies, Sustainability, Alternative Energy, Water Technology and Clean Energy; with more than 700 companies participating from over 26 countries worldwide.
Project Lebanon was highly received by Lebanese and regional business leaders, as well as numerous industry experts who attended the show continuously over the duration of four days, adding to more than 20,000 registered visitors by the last day of the show; thus marking a significant increase from last year’s numbers.
Additionally, both the first-time and returning visitors benefited greatly from the professional, tailor-made environment at the show, enabling the signing of several business deals and agreements; a clear indication of the numerous opportunities provided by the event, making it an ideal annual meeting point for international companies who want to enter the regional markets.
In this light, over 10 of the participating national pavilions organized one-on-one meetings during the show with related government representatives and official bodies, in addition to a large number of Lebanese and Arab businesspeople.
The Italian Embassy in Lebanon and the Italian Trade Commission (ICE) organized a special celebration on June 5 at the Italian Pavilion, one of the largest at the show, for the “Italian National Day” ; an annual tradition bringing together Italian businessmen and their Lebanese counterparts.
The Chargé d'affaires at the Italian Embassy, Riccardo Smemo, described this event as “fruitful,” stating that “most of the companies within the Italian national pavilion are participating for the first time, because the businesses that have participated before have succeeded in finding partners and agents in Lebanon and are now involved in the market independently,” and considered this as an example of the high quality opportunities provided by the show to its participants.
Albert Aoun, Chairman and CEO of IFP Group, expressed his pride in this event saying, “Project Lebanon has returned to break all records once again, proving the accuracy of our vision for the construction industry in Lebanon and the region on the long run. As for our participants who were pleased with this year’s show, we would like to promise them an even more impressive edition next year in light of Syria’s reconstruction.”
In the same context, Henri Castores, Director of UBI France in Beirut, pointed out that “next year’s edition of Project Lebanon will witness great participation from French companies in anticipation of future regional plans and the opportunities that the show will be providing.” Castores also predicted that “Most European businesses will follow the example of French companies, which will be at the forefront of many construction, infrastructure, water, electricity and transportation projects.”
On her part, Claudia Nejati, Regional Director of NUMOV, said that “Lebanon will play a crucial role in the rehabilitation of Syria, serving as a definite gateway for German companies. Project Lebanon will certainly be the first stop on the agenda of German exhibitors in 2014, as an effective tool to strengthen their presence and activities in the regional markets.”
In his turn, Rodolfo Ribeiro, Head Commercial Attaché at the Brazilian Embassy in Beirut, explained, “We are fully aware that Lebanon is the optimal gateway to all the regional markets, hence our participation in Project Lebanon to find Lebanese partners with whom we will launch our businesses across the Middle East.”
Running alongside Project Lebanon, EcOrient also concluded its sessions, which were held in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris Ile-de-France (CCI), hosting over 25 environmental and suitability expert speakers, with the participation of more than 200 delegates. The conference received the support of several local and international bodies, headed by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, the Order of Engineers and Architects of Beirut, the Lebanese Solar Energy Society (LSES), the Lebanon Green Building Council (LGBC), the Arab Sustainability Association, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Office for Water, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC); in addition to a large number of environmental specialists and engineers from Lebanon and the region.
It is worth mentioning that “Project Lebanon” is part of a series of annual construction fairs organized by International Fairs & Promotions (IFP Group) in Iraq, Lebanon, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, hosting more than 5,000 companies, attracting over 100,000 visitors, and concluding hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of business deals.