The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) Governor said that officials from Lebanon and the UAE discussed potential joint projects during former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s visit to Abu Dhabi in October 2019, reported Bloomberg.
“There were discussions between the U.A.E. and Lebanon in reference to the proposed projects during the UAE-Lebanon Investment Conference, which took place back in October,” said Mubarak Rashed Al Mansoori, the CBUAE Governor.
The central bank said discussions did not include aid, clarifying earlier remarks attributed to Al Mansoori.
Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese protesters are demanding the ouster of an entire political class they blame for endemic corruption and economic mismanagement.
The former Prime Minister said that the UAE promised investments and financial aid to his deeply indebted country, however, the central bank said discussions with the Lebanese delegation did not include aid, clarifying earlier remarks which were attributed to Al Mansoori.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Lebanon is battling a large fiscal deficit, which has pushed public debt to $86.3 billion equivalent to 150 per cent of its GDP. The fiscal deficit is now projected to increase to 155 per cent by the end of 2019—the large current account deficits have pushed external debt close to 190 per cent of GDP.
The Washington-based lender has not received a formal request for an aid package to help Lebanon to overcome the economic crisis, but the IMF said it would review such a proposal if it is made by the country’s authorities.