Beiruit Internet City in pipeline
Following the success of Dubai's Internet City, the Investment Authority of Lebanon has appointed a consultancy agency to conduct a feasibility study into the idea of building one in Beiruit.
Dubai’s Internet City has so far been a huge success, with big name firms from around the region and the world rushing to take advantage of the high-tech facilities and attractive government incentives. So it’s no surprise that other cities in the Middle East have been watching developments and taking notes.
Now the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) has started the ball rolling on Beirut Internet City by appointing an American consultancy to conduct a feasibility study into the idea.
The consultants, from Graber Simmons & Cowan spent the second half of August in Beirut to carry out preparatory studies. Their work is being funded by the United States Trade and Development Agency, an American governmental body which promotes expansion of overseas trading nations.
It will draw up all the requirements for the creation of the free trade area, which will go under the name of the Beirut Emerging Technology Zone. It is expected that the zone will later be linked with Lebanon’s existing Information City, an idea conceived by the previous government.
Since being founded in 1994, IDAL has been keen to promote IT in Lebanon. Recently the body has been playing matchmaker for small and medium sized Internet and computer start-ups who want to work with international firms, and its powers to lead initiatives such as the Emerging Technology Zone will be greatly increased when, as is expected, a new investment law is passed at the start of this month.
The law will grant IDAL new powers to reduce red tape for IT businesses in order to speed up inward investment in the country, as well as offering tax breaks and package deals to those who invest in productive sectors.
“The law will allow IDAL to participate in the capital of companies, including information technology and telecommunications,” said IDAL’s general manager Kamal Hayek.