In the presence of José Luis Vinuesa-Santamaria, representative of the European Union in Lebanon; Jérémie Pellet, General Director of Expertise France; Valerie Vion, representative of the French Embassy in Lebanon; Olivier Ray, General Director of the French Development Agency (AFD); Toufic Daboussi, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture in Tripoli and North Lebanon; Talal Hijazi, General Director of the Lebanese Industrialists Association; the Private Sector Development (PSD) Program, funded by the European Union held its closing ceremony at the Hilton Metropolitan Habtoor Hotel. During this event, the programme’s local partners and experts presented the most important results and achievements of this programme which was launched in April 2016.
The PSD Programme in Lebanon, aims at providing ﬁnancial and non-ﬁnancial supportive services to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) active in the wood processing sector in Tripoli and agribusiness sector in the Bekaa and Akkar regions in order to increase their competitiveness, productivity and participation in the economy by fostering their development and integration into value chains.
“The development of the Private Sector is an important priority of the European Union in Lebanon,” said Vinuesa-Santamaria. He continued: ” From north to south, we believe this country has untapped potential and that more should be done to enhance the competitiveness and diversify the Lebanese economy; and today the current economic situation in Lebanon calls for an unprecedented and combined efforts to enhance local production and develop its export potential, making it less dependent on imports and contributing to rebalance the trade deficit.”
Expertise France’s general director, Pellet stressed on the importance of keeping pace with international cooperation agencies for sustainable development projects in order to create job opportunities and competition, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises and to create economic platforms such as the “Minjara” platform in Tripoli that supports the carpentry sector.
Mr Pellet also mentioned the Lebanese participation of the carpentry sector in exhibitions in Paris through the PSD Programme. He also stressed on the cooperation with Rene Mouawad Foundation in supporting Avocado cultivation in Akkar as well as the support to the Cherries and table Grapes farmers in Zahle.
Julien Schmitt, Director of the PSD Programme in Lebanon, spoke about Lebanese talents, saying: “I have developed several projects around the world, but I have come to the conclusion that the Lebanese people have a unique talent but lack financial support and development tools to adapt to the economic reality. After months of hard work, we succeeded in finding these tools, which were accompanied by young talents that caught the attention of the international community.”
The conference brought together over 180 participants from economic attachés of embassies, industrialists, producers, farmers, representatives of ministries, financial institutions, international donor community, international organizations, relevant experts, academics and researchers.