Salameh: Lebanon economy needs Political stability to grow


salameh riad , central bank governorRiad Salameh, Governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank said that the country is capable of improving its economic situation provided that security and stability are secured.

“Thanks to its banking sector, Lebanon has the capacity to grow [economically] because the available liquidity enables it to encourage investment and consumption, provided that a better political and security situation is established,” Salameh told CNBC on Thursday.

He also praised the formation of a new cabinet as being “a message to the markets that the Lebanese want a unified country which abides by democratic principles.”

The Central Bank’s governor also addressed the Syrian refugee crisis, and said that it is weighing heavily on Lebanon’s economy.

“The issue is complicated and Lebanon is bearing the burden of the Syrian refugees whose number has now reached over 900,000.”

“The Central Bank estimated their cost on Lebanon at a billion dollars yearly, and we are still waiting for the international community’s support to be able to move forward because we have the necessary resources to develop Lebanon,” Salameh added.

More than 900,000 Syrians have fled to Lebanon since the Syrian civil war erupted nearly three years ago, many living in tents and unfinished buildings.

The International Support Group for Lebanon convened last September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s annual meeting, at which President Michel Suleiman warned that Lebanon was facing an existential crisis as a result of the increasing number of refugees on its soil.

An International Support Group for Lebanon conference will also be held on March 5 in France’s Paris in order to present the country with aid to help it provide for the Syrian refugees.