Lebanon focuses on reconstruction

Lebanon’s Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) expects to spend US $800 million on construction projects next year.

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By  Eudore Chand Published  December 30, 2003

Lebanon’s Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) expects to spend US $800 million on construction projects next year. CDR, the body tasked with rebuilding Lebanon following the civil war, aims to build 17 public schools in Beirut alone, subject to governmental approvals. The main challenge for the schools project is finding the US$20 million needed to buy the land for the constructions. “Everything will go according to plan once the problem of the money for the appropriation of land has been solved,” Jamal Itani, chairman of CDR told Lebanon’s Daily Star. Funding for the Lebanon’s rebuilding drive has come from a number of sources led by the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Islamic Development Bank. Some of the Beirut schools, meanwhile, are being fully funded by the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development. The majority of the rebuilding projects are on track, but complexities related to land appropriations worth US$200 million are causing some delays. “The deadline for some of the projects has been extended because of last minute changes in the plans. Eventually, all these projects will be completed,” said Itani. A major focus for the CDR in 2004 will be to finish the consruction of a branch of the Lebanese University in Hadath, which will accommodate 30,000 students. “Before I came to the CDR, work on the Lebanese University was slow but we managed to obtain additional funds from the Islamic Bank and other funds to resume the construction of the campus,” said Itani. The Hadath project is now expected to finish in September 2004. So far, projects worth US$130 million have been complete on the site, representing 65% of the total work needed. The CDR is also working on the power grid that connects Syria and Lebanon, but land-owners objecting to powerlines on their land has delayed the project. Work on the Lebanese Power Centre, another major project, is proceeding according to plan though.

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