Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks during a conference at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The moment of truth has arrived for Lebanon at Friday's CEDRE international conference as the country seeks $10 billion in loans to boost its economy and rebuild its infrastructure. Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived in Paris Wednesday for the conference, which was expected to gather over 50 countries and international organizations with the aim of bolstering support for Lebanon through the government's new Capital Investment Program. The CIP covers 8-12 years and will need up to $22 billion, although CEDRE will see Lebanon aim to secure financing for just the first phase of the CIP, expected to cost around $10 billion. This follow-up mechanism is aimed at ensuring that reforms are implemented so as to further encourage private sector investment, which has until recently indicated interest in Lebanon but has been wary of graft, bureaucracy and other issues that diminish Lebanon's appeal for business.Some parties in Lebanon have been less than positive about CEDRE, and the prospect of taking on more debt.There is strong support for Lebanon from the international community, which has demonstrated a commitment to supporting the country through the organization of CEDRE as well as the Rome II conference, which garnered support for Lebanon's security apparatuses.
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