The European Investment Bank (EIB) yesterday issued a brief statement regarding the German project for the reconstruction of Beirut harbor, which was devastated by a deadly double explosion on August 4. The financial institution said it had not issued “any financing proposal” for this project prepared by the companies Hamburg Port Consulting (HPC) and Colliers with the help of Roland Berger and Fraunhofer IMW.
“Such financing must follow the usual procedures of approval, respect for environmental and social standards, and market rules,” the institution stressed in its statement, adding that it supports the principles of transparency, accountability and inclusiveness “with the aim of not repeating previous mistakes and better rebuilding in order to put Lebanon on the path to a sustainable recovery. While the EIB did not refer to the origin of the information that its statement denies, the fact that several actors have recently expressed interest in taking over this infrastructure has naturally fueled some rumors. One of them, relayed on Monday by online media, announced for example the withdrawal of the German initiative, an outcome that does not seem to have any basis, according to two sources close to the file that we contacted.
The German proposal was presented during a press conference three weeks ago. It is broken down into several phases, the first of which is spread over 5 to 7 years and whose 7.2 billion dollar envelope would be financed by international organizations, “such as the World Bank or the European Investment Bank. Organizations that could, according to the promoters of the project, “invest in a management fund, and guarantee transparency and governance. The proposal also includes an important component devoted to urban development around the port area, a component whose implementation depends on concrete reforms and political stability, while Lebanon in crisis has been without a government for nearly nine months.
Other candidates for the reconstruction of the harbor of Beirut have also recently presented their respective approaches, which are not necessarily competing, such as those of the French transport and logistics giant CMA CGM, and an alliance of Lebanese public works contractors gathered around Maroun Hélou and Antoine E. Amatoury who both favor more targeted works with their own logic. The architect Charbel Abou Jaoudé’s design office presented a large-scale and long-term project for the rehabilitation of the harbor area.