September 24, 2021


This is the speech given by the president of the Council of ministers Saad Hariri this morning at the forum organized by the Union of Arab Banks and the World Union of Arab bankers at Biel:

"Thank you for the opportunity of meeting with this prestigious group of Arab bankers in Beirut. The forum's title "Financing Reconstruction - In the Aftermath of the Arab transformations" summarizes our vision of the future based on turning challenges into opportunities.

Today our Arab countries are witnessing crises and challenges on all political, security, economic and social levels.

There are many theories on how all these crises would end. I do not want to plunge in these theories, with all due respect, but I want to propose an approach and call it "the Lebanese approach" of these crises.

"The Lebanese way" in approaching issues stems from the fact that the Lebanese people experienced all these crises, experiences and calamities 30 years before the rest of the region.

And just as the proverb says: "One day older than you (one year wiser)

We in Lebanon experienced all crises: internal wars, foreign interference, militias, occupation, guardianship, destruction, displacement and all kinds of atrocities.

In the end, we discovered two things: We only have each other and we only have our country. Thus, we decided to live together and we rebuilt our country.

In the end, everyone, in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen will reach the same conclusion: They will live together and rebuild their countries sooner or later.

If we calculate the cost of the reconstruction processes in these four Arab countries alone, we will reach hundreds, or even thousands of billions of dollars!

Here lies the Lebanese way approach, based on turning the crisis to an opportunity and the calamity into hope.

Here also appears the fundamental and pivotal role of your sector, the Arab banking sector.

Actually this sector never lagged to finance the productive sectors and ensure the requirements of the development. It was always a key engine in the Arab economic growth.

But I have two essential observations:

First, the size of the reconstruction processes in the Arab world requires more openness and cooperation between all Arab banking sectors and all Arab banks from all countries.

Second, the size of the reconstruction processes requires us to join the global trend of activating partnership between the public and private sectors, particularly the process of developing infrastructure as the pillar of any economic growth.

We, in Lebanon, are aware of the importance of this issue and we are working to achieve the partnership law between the private and public sectors. This law will provide the legal framework to invest the liquidity that is available in the banking sector in the economic development process.

The Lebanese banking sector has always been the main leverage and supporter of the national economy in the most difficult circumstances and a factor of confidence and reassurance to all Lebanese.

I want to pay a special tribute to the Central Bank and its Governor Riad Salame and all the Lebanese banking leaders who faced the local challenges with efficiency and are enhancing the confidence in Lebanon through their commitment to the international rules and regulations. We reiterate our keenness to implement these rules and regulations to remain within the global banking system and thus the global economy.

Our duty is to preserve the Lebanese banking sector and its immunity in order to preserve the financial and monetary stability and Lebanon's stability.

In the end I reiterate: Our hope is that you start, in this forum, to fix a roadmap, firstly, for the Arab reconstruction processes, secondly for your participation in financing them, thirdly for the cooperation between Arab banks and last but not least for a partnership between you and the public sector in the Arab world."

Source: National News Agency