Germany proposes to re-build the Port of Beirut but with ‘strings attached’

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REKLAMA

Germany set to present a multi-billion-dollar plan to re-build the Port of Beirut after it was levelled by an explosion in 2020.

Reuters reports that the German government is about to present a proposal to Lebanese authorities to re-build the Port of Beirut as part of a plan to encourage the country’s politicians to form a stable government.

An ammonium nitrate explosion last August killed 200 people and destroyed the docks and entire areas of the city, and the resulting economic crisis has been the country’s worst since the 1975-1990 civil war.

Diplomatic sources say both Germany and France are competing to lead re-building efforts. Berlin is said to be outlining its proposal on 7th April, which could include support from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

A spokesman for the EIB said the bank was aware of a proposal outlined by the Port of Hamburg. “However, there currently is no financing offer by the EIB. Any EIB financing would be subject to due diligence and have to follow the Bank’s usual processes for such operations,” he said.

He added: “The Bank stands ready to support the Lebanese people and reconstruction efforts as part of Team Europe and alongside its partners, the international community and all stakeholders.”

The proposal has been confirmed by the German Ambassador to Lebanon, Andreas Kindl, who said the plan had been drawn up by several private companies who would present it during talks in Beirut, but Ambassador Kindl made it clear that Lebanon will only attract investors by enacting reforms, both political and financial.

The other of Reuters’ diplomatic sources said that the plan was “not going to come without strings attached… Germany and France want first to see a government in place committed to implementing reforms. There is no other way around it and this is good for Lebanon”.

Although it is eight months since the blast made thousands homeless and destroyed lives and livelihoods throughout the city, the results of an investigation into the cause of the explosion have still not been published.

The German proposal would redevelop more than 100 hectares of the city in addition to the port area and could cost anywhere between $5bn and $15bn and create as as many as 50,000 jobs.

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