FDI to Lebanon Rise in 2012 on Acquisitions in Insurance and Real Estate Sectors
According to the World Investment Report, recently released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), FDI inflows to Lebanon managed to rise by 8.7% to reach US$ 3,787 million in 2012. Such an increase reverses the decline seen in 2011 and was achieved despite the adverse conditions seen within the country during 2012. When compared to regional peers, UNCTAD's data shows that FDI inflows to the MENA region were up by 11.3% in 2012, those to the GCC were almost unchanged rising by a slight 0.4%, while those to emerging countries were down by 31.6%.
Lebanon managed to sustain its position as the third highest recipient of FDI inflows amongst countries within the MENA geography.
In parallel, Lebanon managed to sustain its position as the third highest recipient of FDI inflows amongst countries within the MENA geography. Yet, the share of FDI inflows in Lebanon from the regional total was a bit down from 8.4% in 2011 to 8.2% in 2012. The share of FDI inflows to Lebanon from those to the emerging world was slightly up from 0.4% in 2011 to 0.7% in 2012.
UNCTAD attributed the 8.7% rise in 2012 to the foreign acquisitions in the insurance industry and in services related to real estate. Positive investment prospects are expected in the longer term in light of the recent gas discoveries in the Lebanese waters along the northern maritime boundary with Cyprus and Syria. According to UNCTAD, this enhances Lebanon's appeal for attracting FDI in oil exploration. About 46 companies were prequalified to bid for gas exploration in a licensing round that opened on May 2nd 2013.
UNCTAD's figures are somewhat in line with those of the report entitled "Investment Climate in Arab Countries 2012-2013" published by the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation "Dhaman". The latter estimates FDI inflows into Lebanon at US$ 3,678 million, up by 5% from the previous year's level. While FDI into Lebanon constitutes 7.8% of the total inflows into Arab World in 2012, it is the 3rd largest in the list of 21 Arab countries included in the report, following Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
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