Cèdre (Paris IV) donor conference set for April 6

The Lebanese government will seek funding for an infrastructure investment program worth between $16 and $17 billion at the Cèdre donor conference that will be held on April 6 in Paris, said Nabil El Jisr, Chairman of the Council for Development and Reconstruction.

The Paris IV conference has been renamed Cèdre by its host, French President Emmanuel Macron.

The government will propose the first two phases of more than 250 projects at the conference. These two phases are expected to cover a period of eight to ten years. Around 30 percent of the investments will be earmarked for the transportation sector while water and sewage projects will get another 30 percent. Nearly 20 percent will be allocated to the electricity sector with the remaining 20 percent to be invested in other infrastructure and development projects.

Jisr said that a major part of the investment program’s projects could be implemented through public-private partnerships (PPPs).

Nadim Munla, spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office, said that 40 percent of the investment program’s projects could be financed through PPPs and consequently these investments will not have a negative impact on the budget deficit. The conference will call on the private sector to invest between six and seven billion dollars in these projects, he said.

Around 60 percent of the investment program will be financed through grants and through soft loans at interest rates of less than 1.5 percent over periods ranging from 20 to 30 years, according to Munla.

A preparatory conference will be held in Beirut on March 6, ahead of the Cèdre meetings.