Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in UAE for official visit

Lebanon’s government is scrambling to implement reforms needed to unlock billions in international aid



Image courtesy: WAM

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived in the UAE on Sunday as part of a wider tour of the Arab region in a bid to boost investment into his struggling economy.

Following his arrival, he held talks with Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, UAE deputy PM and minister of Interior, and they discussed issues of mutual interest, official news agency WAM reported.

During his two-day visit, Hariri will also meet with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and other Emirati officials.

He will also participate in a UAE-Lebanon investment forum in Abu Dhabi.

Lebanon’s government is scrambling to implement reforms needed to unlock billions in international aid to revive the stagnant economy.

Compounding weaker growth of bank deposits — a key source for government funding — is a current-account deficit that the International Monetary Fund expects to reach almost 30 per cent of gross domestic product by the end of this year.

Last month Hariri went to Saudi capital Riyadh to seek funding, and Saudi finance minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said his country was in talks with the Lebanese government about financial support.

Lebanese finance minister Ali Hasan Khalil also said in September that Lebanon is in talks with “friendly countries” about them investing in a planned bond issuance.

“All options are open. All these things could help us, whether subscribing to bonds or deposits at the central bank’s account to boost foreign currency reserves,” Khalil said.

With inputs from Bloomberg