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08 October 2019

UAE lifts Lebanon travel ban as Beirut seeks to resuscitate ailing economy

The Lebanese central bank has been drawing down its foreign exchange reserves to repay the state’s maturing dollar-denominated debt and last week, the regulator said that it was prepared to do more.


The UAE has lifted a ban on its citizens visiting Lebanon, following an embargo which has been in place since 2016, as Beirut seeks help to steer its heavily indebted economy out of deep crisis, reported Reuters.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have both voiced frequent concerns over the security situation in Lebanon, which is located next to war-torn Syria and is home to Iran-backed Hezbollah.

The UAE is Lebanon’s leading Arab trading partner and its seventh largest global trading partner, and the Emirates also ranks first in the world in receiving Lebanese exports, accounting for 14 per cent of Lebanese merchandise exports in 2018.

Lebanon is now seeking a cash injection for its central bank and investments in food, infrastructure as well as oil and gas, and renewable energy.

Confronted with one of the world’s highest debt burdens, low growth and crumbling infrastructure, the Lebanese authorities have promised to implement long-delayed structural reforms in order to unlock more than $11 billion in loans and grants pledged by international donors in April 2018 at the CEDRE Conference in Paris.

Beirut is also seeking to reverse a sharp loss of confidence among foreign investors and depositors who are turning away from the Lebanese pound.

The country’s traditionally high reserves of foreign currency have been in decline because capital inflows into its banking system from Lebanese expats have been decreasing.




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