The geopolitical situation in the Middle East and the resulting internal political tensions once again put a strain on the Lebanese economy in 2013. The risk of contagion of the Syrian conflict and the absence of consensus on the formation of a ministerial cabinet have particularly led the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council to warn their nationals against all travel to Lebanon during the second semester 2013 - a hard blow for investment and tourism in this country which is traditionally very closely linked to the Arabian peninsula.
It is no surprise then that UNCTAD records a FDI decline of 23% in Lebanon for the year 2013, amounting to €2.1 billion. The latter is attributed to a quasi-absence of new greenfield investment and to a marked decline in real estate investments from the Gulf. The ANIMA-MIPO observatory nevertheless registers a few sizeable intentions in this preferential sector, such as the Waterfront City project announced by UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim or the Raouché View 1090 launched by the Kuwaiti URC. As regards infrastructure, the attribution of the container terminal concession of Tripoli port to UAE Gulftainer is also worth noting. The traditionally attractive banking sector also records a good comparative performance, with the first acquisition by a Japanese company in the country, that of Orix in the insurance group Medgulf.
As in the case of FDI intentions, partnerships announcements also fell sharply in 2013 (- 40%), to reach 48 projects, compared with 82 for the very good 2012 year recorded by the ANIMA-MIPO observatory. The tourism and fast food sector has the lion's share again this year, particularly due to the development of various North American franchises such as Warwick, Starwook, Hyatt, Dunkin' Donuts and Papa Jonhs.