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Lebanese Prime minister Nagib Mikati launched on Monday the Beirut Digital District in the heart of Beirut with the aim of creating a hub for technology, attracting foreign investment and helping retain young and talented Lebanese.

The center is a high-rise building in the Bashoura district with 3,200 square meters of office space, is promising to offer advanced infrastructure – including broadband Internet and state-of-the-art information technology facilities according to local reports

The center also aims at becoming a center for IT startups.

Mikati said that his cabinet was determined to “perform its duties and keep Lebanon on the technology map. ” He also said that the Beirut Digital District project showed a “real partnership between the public and private sectors.”

“This is the best investment we could make. We want to create an environment of production. We want young people’s dreams to come true so that we can succeed as a society. Hand in hand we can go far together. And in five years, we can meet again and see this dream realized,” Karim Kobeissi, a lawyer and a leading figure behind the project, said during its launching .

in addition to Mikati and Kobeissi Maroun Chammas, chairman and CEO of Berytech and Nicolas Sehnaoui, Telecom Minister along with other dignitaries attended the launching

Lebanon has one of world’s slowest Internet speeds with occasional blackouts. Power outages are a daily occurrence and a lack of infrastructure and job opportunities tend to drive the majority of the country’s most talented to find better opportunities abroad.

A year ago, the Telecom Ministry improved the DSL connection speed , but even this step lagged way behind most countries in the region.

For years there has been talk of creating a tech center south of Beirut in Damour. But the plans never materialized due to political bickering. Organizers of this new project hope the site’s relatively small size and central location will bring people together.

Many have argued that all it would take for Lebanon’s well-educated workforce to stay at home is to have good infrastructure.

Mikati described the center as ” an important symbol,” adding that similar centers could be expected in the coming years outside of Beirut.

Sehnaoui said Lebanon could catch up with Dubai in the technology field if all parties get united.

Daily Star

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