Germany is about to unveil a plan to rebuild Beirut port — but it'll only happen if Lebanon roots out corruption: report
- Germany is poised to present a plan to rebuild Beirut port, sources have told Reuters.
- Lebanon remains in political and economic crisis since the port was rocked by a massive explosion.
- Any funding offered for the project would be contingent on the country forming a stable government, sources told Reuters.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Germany plans to unveil a massive project to reconstruct the port of Beirut, but it would be conditional on Lebanon addressing rampant government corruption, sources have told Reuters.
The multi-billion-dollar reconstruction plan, which has not yet been financed, would be designed to attract cash from bodies such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), sources told the news agency on Thursday.
Beirut’s port suffered catastrophe in August last year, when 2,750 tons of improperly-stored ammonium nitrate exploded, killing at least 100 people. The massive explosion, whose effects could be felt miles away, devastated much of the city.
The explosive material had been impounded after being seized from an abandoned cargo ship in 2014, and remained in storage until it ignited in the horrifying event, as Insider reported.
The country, which was already in the midst of a financial crisis, was left reeling.
Two diplomatic sources with knowledge of the plans, who Reuters did not name, said the German government will make a multi-billion dollar proposal to rebuild the port and its surrounding area on April 7.
A senior Lebanese official, also unnamed, confirmed to the outlet that Germany was preparing a proposal for the port.
The German foreign ministry did not respond to Insider’s request for comment, nor to one from Reuters.
Both Germany and France have been competing for the opportunity to become involved, Reuters said. In February, a German company was assigned to safely remove the hazardous materials that remain at the port, as Voice of America reported.
Germany’s offer, which would cost between $5-15 billion, does not have financing yet — and to get it, the country must form a government capable of fending off financial collapse, the sources told Reuters.
There would be “strings attached,” one source said.
“Germany and France want first to see a government in place committed to implementing reforms,” the source added. “There is no other way around it and this is good for Lebanon.”
An EIB spokesperson told Reuters no funding had been confirmed, adding the bank “stands ready” to help — as long as due diligence was followed.
In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, Lebanon’s entire government quit, as the BBC reported at the time. Its cabinet has stayed on in a caretaker capacity, but Prime Minister designate Saad al-Hariri and President Michel Aoun have not been able to form a cabinet, Reuters reported.
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