Germany is set to propose a multi-billion-dollar project to rebuild the Port of Beirut in order to encourage the formation of a capable rescue government in Lebanon, Reuters reported on Thursday.
The plan, revealed to Reuters by two diplomatic sources familiar with it, will be outlined by Germany on April 7th.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to help fund the reconstruction efforts, which Germany and France are competing to lead, as per the sources.
Germany‘s intention to present this plan, which involves EIB funding in the range of 2 billion to 3 billion euros, has also been confirmed by an unnamed senior Lebanese official.
The project will not only involve rebuilding the Beirut Port but also redeveloping over 100 hectares in its surrounding area. It will also create around 50,000 job opportunities.
A publicly-listed company similar to Lebanon’s Solidere, which reconstructed war-torn Beirut‘s central district after the Lebanese Civil War, would have to be established for the project, which is estimated to cost between $5 billion and $15 billion.
With that said, one of the sources stressed that the plan “is not going to come without strings attached.”
“Germany and France want first to see a government in place committed to implementing reforms.”
Such a government has been the centerpiece of the international initiatives, most notably France‘s, to support Lebanon recover from its devastating economic crisis that continues to worsen.
“There is no other way around it and this is good for Lebanon,” the source added.
Carrying out economic reforms and an audit of the central bank’s accounts are among the primary international requirements of a new Lebanese government if Lebanon is to unlock the international support it desperately needs.