Talks about “going east” have grown more prevalent as Lebanon considers an alternative for the West’s financial support conditions.
An economic expert has now confirmed that China is looking to invest in Lebanon’s infrastructure, especially the power sector.
Lebanon should expect an official message from big Chinese companies regarding an investment in its electricity sector, Economist Hasan Moukalled told Al-Jadeed’s “W Halla2 Shou?”
“I confirm that they are ready to enter the electricity sector,” he asserted.
The investors in question have been debating the magnitude of their investment in that sector, which implies they’ve already set their eyes on Lebanon, Moukalled explained.
In the past two years, Chinese delegations have visited Lebanon more than nine times to deliver messages from 10 Chinese companies that were willing to invest $12.5 billion in massive infrastructure projects in the country.
These projects include railway infrastructure, solar power, cleaning the Litani River, and were proposed to a heavyweight Lebanese official, the expert revealed.
Not only that but, in the past couple of weeks, the Chinese reiterated that their interest in Lebanon has not died out even amid the great crises by which the country is currently overwhelmed.
Despite this eagerness on China’s side, it’s worth noting that, as Dr. Moukalled indicated, “Lebanese officials do not want the Chinese to enter [the electricity] sector.”
Dr. Massoud Daher, head of the Chinese-Lebanese Friendship and Cooperation Committee, echoed this assertion when he told Arab News that China “is forbidden from entering Lebanon in such ways.”
This explains why the numerous Chinese offers to Lebanon over the past years, particularly those in the electricity sector, have not yielded any results.
In context, Dr. Hasan Moukalled noted that by improving its economic connections with the East, Lebanon does not necessarily have to “divorce” the West.
Allowing investments from the other side is only a matter of opening up new opportunities and increasing the country’s options so that it can choose the optimal path toward better economic and financial conditions.
With that said, and considering a message is once again coming Lebanon’s way from China next Tuesday, will the officials’ position change towards China’s pressing proposals, now that Lebanon is in desperate need of external support?
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