BDL Accelerate 2016, November 3, 2016

Country: Beirut,Lebanon


Nov 16

The Association of Banks in Lebanon

Chairman’s Speech
Dr. Joseph Torbey

BDL Accelerate 2016


Excellency Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon Mr. Riad Salame
Dear participants,

It gives me great pleasure to be here today at the opening ceremony of the BDL accelerate in its third annual international conference hosting thousands of attendees from more than 50 countries and to address in a few minutes this distinguished audience of forward looking investors, creative entrepreneurs and innovators, leading technology professionals, startup experts, students and other respected visitors. We congregate owing to the Central Bank of Lebanon’s initiative launched three years ago by its visionary Governor Mr. Salame, a strong believer in the knowledge economy and in promoting startups to modernize and boost up the Lebanese economy and better integrate its markets in the global environment.
 In this context, I would like to extend a word of thanks to all planners, sponsors and organizers of this event and to Mrs. Marianne Hoayek in particular for the huge efforts made to bring us together to share rich experiences, knowledge and best practices, identify contacts and projects, and  achieve partnerships between Lebanese and international startup companies.
 The Association of banks in Lebanon has been from the start highly supportive to the organization of this forum and was in fact a strategic partner three years ago. ABL would certainly remain backing all the ideas and measures proposed and taken by the BDL to shore up economic development and growth and strengthen the monetary and financial stability of the country.

Ladies and gentlemen,
The Lebanese banking sector is very pleased that a major breakthrough in the stalemate political situation finally occurred with the election of new president for the republic and the desire from almost all parties to collaborate and shift very soon to institutional effectiveness with the designation of new Prime Minister and Cabinet. We wish all the constitutional institutions effectiveness and success in their missions and hope that this new coming era will reinstate confidence, reactivate long awaited structural reforms and bring prosperity to Lebanese individuals and businesses.

 We remain hopeful that this new operating environment once it gains momentum would provide considerable support to Lebanese entrepreneurs, SMEs and startup companies with the alteration in sentiment away from the wait and see attitude towards action and investment. Raising awareness of the importance and potential role of establishing small firms accentuated in the last few years.
 Venture capital firms have been active in establishing funds and have raised so far considerable amount of money to help financing capital seeking startups in the information and communications technology and in other creative industries. They have also developed their work to help entrepreneurs translate their new ideas into products, processes and services. Such venture capital funds have received already investment commitments from a large number of Lebanese banks in the amount close to 330 million USD as at 30/6/2016.
More banks and funds are expected to participate in the future once the risk involved and projects assessments are more mastered by the different players and the knowledge economy gains breadth and depth, especially that the BDL circulars 331 and 419 authorize the use of up to 4 percent of equity at banks in equity financing startups that is the equivalent of 650 million USD.

We also hope that in the new coming and promising phase the country will succeed in developing and modernizing rapidly the infrastructure of communication and telecommunication and related services as required by all market participants like most countries of the world. That would help the young generation in their ambitions and also this important startups sector to develop and play its role in job creation and economic development otherwise there will be exits to countries where they are better served in this area.  
In the end, I invite new and well recognized entrepreneurs and all parties concerned with this startups business to seize this exceptional networking opportunity to elaborate visions and develop new businesses and innovative products and services for their own interest and for the development of the communities and economies where they operate. I wish for this conference all the success.

Thank you.