Opening Speech – Riad Salameh

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I would like to welcome you to “Banque du Liban Accelerate 2014”.  Your presence today and the large attendance encourage us, as a Central Bank, to put more effort to support the emergence and success of this sector. We believe that the knowledge sector should become one of the pillars of the Lebanese economy, along with the financial sector and hopefully the energy sector.

The synergy existing between these sectors and the other traditional economic sectors in Lebanon will undoubtedly enhance quality, efficiency and competitiveness.

Knowledge is the most expensive commodity in today’s world. The market capitalization of companies in this sector has exceeded that of companies dealing with traditional commodities or performing traditional activities.

Lebanon, with its qualified human resources, can benefit from the knowledge industry, thus increasing its wealth and expanding its GDP in order to create employment and opportunities for those who have the intellectual power.

-3-Based on the foregoing, Banque du Liban has issued a Circular to encourage Lebanese banks to invest in the companies of this sector.

We are guaranteeing 75% of the risks that a bank may bear as a result of such investments. We are retaining 50% of the profits stemming from the guaranteed investment.

We have also dedicated human resources and time to ensure that requests submitted by banks to invest into funds and companies are handled promptly and professionally.

So far, many banks have already allocated funds to this type of investment.

We call on all the banks operating in Lebanon to get involved.

BDL is also keen to help in the establishment of accelerators to back the emergence of this sector, and we have guaranteed at100% that type of investment in that type of activity.

We are also striving to make this sector benefit from international knowhow and expertise.

I would like to thank Ambassador Fletcher who was instrumental in the creation of the tech hub supported by the UK.

It’s our hope that the coordinated activities of this hub will help create brands for the Lebanese tech companies.

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) is actively engaged in the establishment of a proper environment for the trading of shares in general on the local stock exchange and over the counter.

Funds and Startup companies will have in the future the opportunity to exit through these markets, if they choose to do so.

The CMA has also the authority to license a stock exchange entirely dedicated to these funds or companies.

In due time, BDL will engineer financial incentives to ensure the liquidity needed for the success of the IPO’s to be used by Lebanese investment banks and financial companies.

I would like to thank the entities who offered to sponsor this event, especially the Lebanese Banking Association for covering the total cost of the conference.

My thanks also go to Mrs. Hoayek from BDL who spared no efforts to produce a great event, helped by Mr. Karam from ALICE.

I hope that your meetings during these two days will be fruitful.

Thank you.




Banque du Liban Accelerate