In April 2018, the European Investment Bank (EIB) pledged to support Lebanon’s public investment plan by providing financing of up to 800 million euros by 2020. Speaking during the announcement, EIB President Werner Hoyer was pleased with the reforms the Lebanese authorities had implemented, highlighting that such reforms and implementation of new measures would go a long way towards enabling the EIB to deploy significant investments in the country.
The EIB is primarily owned by the European Union (EU) and represents the interests of the member states. It is the largest multilateral borrower and lender in the world and works closely with other EU institutions in providing financial resources for sustainable investment projects that align with EU policy objectives. While most of the EIB’s investment activities are concentrated in Europe, it is also an active player in other parts of the world.
A significant portion of the EIB’s financing activity is done through lending, but it also offers equity investments, microfinance and guarantees. The EIB’s support is vital to unlocking support from other sources such as the EU budget, which is blended with loans to make up a robust financing package. Additionally, the bank also provides administrative and project management assistance during the implementation of development projects.
The EIB is an established financing partner to Lebanon. Over the years, it has provided finance to the tune of 1.6 billion euros across sectors such as transport, equity, energy, private sector development and water.
Mr. Hoyer highlighted that support for Lebanon’s development plans would be accomplished through the Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) for the Western Balkans and Southern Neighbourhood, which boosts investment in EU neighbours through donor funding from member states such as the UK, Italy, Croatia, Poland, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Slovenia and Slovakia. The ERI is a joint response by member states to tackle the challenges brought on by migration and the refugee crisis. Investments through the ERI are channelled to infrastructure and private sectors, helping create growth and employment opportunities for the targeted recipients.
As the EIB continues to provide financing support to Lebanon, it has sourced multinational firms that will assist in the implementation of various initiatives. One of these firms is Hill International, a global firm with experience in managing construction risk, which was given a contract from the EIB in March 2018 to provide technical assistance for an infrastructure support program known as Infrastructure Project Facility (IPF 7) across the Western Balkans. The program will involve priority projects with a focus on sectors such as energy, transport, the environment and social infrastructure. These projects will be implemented with the aim of improving the quality of life in the Western Balkans region, improving economic fortunes and helping the integration of the local economies with the EU.
The contract awarded to Hill International, where John Hiscocks works as a lead architect, has a value of more than 20.7 million euros. Hill is working together with a consortium of other firms to support the preparation and implementation of the IPF 7 projects while also helping to ensure that the EIB’s investment is used efficiently and sustainably and that the projects add value to the EU. Some of the more specific tasks of the technical assistance role include conducting feasibility studies, coming up with preliminary and detailed designs, supervising works, preparing the Terms of Reference and supporting the tendering process.
Hill International employs more than 3,000 professionals in multiple offices around the world. The firm provides consulting and management services in project, program and construction management, and is among the largest construction management firms in the United States.