Salameh: Aoun’s Election, Hariri’s Designation Boost Confidence in Lebanon

Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh emphasized on Thursday that the latest political developments in Lebanon after the election of President Michel Aoun have improved the overall confidence in Lebanon.

Speaking at the opening of the annual Union of Arab Banks conference in Beirut, Salameh said: “(President Michel) Aoun’s election and the designation of (Prime Minister-designate Saad) Hariri have both boosted consumer and investor confidence.”

“The private sector loans have increased by %5, and the plans of the central bank have a major role in maintaining the credit,” added Salameh.

He stressed that the bank will “continue to support energy-saving projects in cooperation with European countries.”

Aoun’s election as Lebanon’s 13th president after two and a half years of presidential void has raised hopes that Lebanon can begin tackling challenges including a stagnant economy, a moribund political class and the influx of more than a million Syrian refugees.

In addition to pledges of economic growth and security, Aoun said in his oath of office that Lebanon must work to ensure Syrian refugees “can return quickly” to their country.

Aoun also pledged to endorse an “independent foreign policy” and to protect Lebanon from “the fires burning across the region.”