There are estimated to be over 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which has placed a strain on the country's infrastructure.. A McConnell / UNHCR
There are estimated to be over 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which has placed a strain on the country's infrastructure.. A McConnell / UNHCR

Lebanon's refugee crisis will fuel construction sector growth



While the influx of Syrian refugees places a strain on Lebanon’s existing infrastructure, it will also drive demand for additional investment into the construction sector according to a new report.

BMI Research’s latest assessment of Lebanon’s construction sector, released on Friday, found that the country’s absorption of Syrian refugees will require a “dramatic and wide-ranging ramp up of infrastructure investment”.

The report said that due to the country’s “fragile” economic and political foundations, the funding needed will largely come from foreign donors and multi-lateral funding institutions".

The Lebanese government announced in April it was seeking US$10-12 billion from the international community over the next seven years.

“Given the scale of Lebanon's investment needs and the anticipated availability of international donor funding to finance infrastructure projects we hold a positive view of Lebanon's construction sector growth outlook,” BMI Research said adding that the country has one of the smallest construction industries regionally in value terms, at $3.2bn as of 2015.

Lebanon's population has surged since the Syrian exodus began in 2011. According to the United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), there are more than 1 million Syrians registered in the Lebanese capital, but an estimated 500,000 are believed to be living around the country.

The impact of this population growth on structural demand for additional infrastructure can be illustrated by the country’s power sector, where per capita electricity consumption has plunged since 2010. Lebanon is now one of the most underserved electricity markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as of 2016, according to BMI Research. The country faces similar strains in its water and waste management sectors.

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However with this higher demand comes opportunity. A number of power projects are currently in the construction pipeline aimed at addressing the country's growing power deficit. These include the $ 470m Deir Ammar Combined Cycle Plant, where General Electric and Greece-based J&P-AVAX have secured equipment and construction contracts, respectively. The government is also considering renewable projects and, according to BMI Research, has three wind projects each valued at between $100m to $150m under final review.

Other infrastructure-focused initiatives announced in the past year, backed by multi-lateral institutions and international donors, include $200m from The World Bank to upgrade the road network in Lebanon. The funds will be used to renovate about 500km of roads in the first phase of the government's larger plan to rehabilitate the road sector.

The United States has pledged $140m to help Syrian refugees and the communities hosting them. The funds are expected to target the construction of new water and waste-water treatment infrastructure.

The report added: “More broadly, the tailwinds to construction sector growth offered by the refugee influx will be complemented by a brightening macro-economic outlook, which should likewise support higher construction sector growth in the coming years. Our Country Risk team expects that positive political momentum in Lebanon will support an uptick in investor and consumer confidence over the coming years, which will result in a modest acceleration of GDP growth."

Lebanon has the highest debt-to-GDP ratio in the Middle East. Earlier this month, a senior official at the country's ministry of finance said the nation may tap the Eurobond market again this year for long-maturity debt, depending on market conditions and the prospect of US interest rate increases.

The state often adopts this strategy to plug its deficit shortfall. This has been exacerbated in recent years by sluggish economic growth and Syrian refugree crisis.

Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
- On completion in 2030, the Diriyah project is forecast to accommodate more than 100,000 people
- The $63.2 billion Diriyah project will contribute $7.2 billion to the kingdom’s GDP
- It will create more than 178,000 jobs and aims to attract more than 50 million visits a year
- About 2,000 people work for the Diriyah Company, with more than 86 per cent being Saudi citizens

If you go

Flights

Emirates flies from Dubai to Phnom Penh with a stop in Yangon from Dh3,075, and Etihad flies from Abu Dhabi to Phnom Penh with its partner Bangkok Airlines from Dh2,763. These trips take about nine hours each and both include taxes. From there, a road transfer takes at least four hours; airlines including KC Airlines (www.kcairlines.com) offer quick connecting flights from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville from about $100 (Dh367) return including taxes. Air Asia, Malindo Air and Malaysian Airlines fly direct from Kuala Lumpur to Sihanoukville from $54 each way. Next year, direct flights are due to launch between Bangkok and Sihanoukville, which will cut the journey time by a third.

The stay

Rooms at Alila Villas Koh Russey (www.alilahotels.com/ kohrussey) cost from $385 per night including taxes.

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

BLACKBERRY

Director: Matt Johnson

Stars: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Matt Johnson

Rating: 4/5

Fire and Fury
By Michael Wolff,
Henry Holt

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Terminator: Dark Fate

Director: Tim Miller

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis 

Rating: 3/5

When Umm Kulthum performed in Abu Dhabi

Known as The Lady of Arabic Song, Umm Kulthum performed in Abu Dhabi on November 28, 1971, as part of celebrations for the fifth anniversary of the accession of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as Ruler of Abu Dhabi. A concert hall was constructed for the event on land that is now Al Nahyan Stadium, behind Al Wahda Mall. The audience were treated to many of Kulthum's most well-known songs as part of the sold-out show, including Aghadan Alqak and Enta Omri.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

The specs: 2018 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Price, base / as tested Dh99,000 / Dh132,000

Engine 3.6L V6

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Power 275hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque 350Nm @ 3,700rpm

Fuel economy combined 12.2L / 100km

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now

THE BIO

Ms Al Ameri likes the variety of her job, and the daily environmental challenges she is presented with.

Regular contact with wildlife is the most appealing part of her role at the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.

She loves to explore new destinations and lives by her motto of being a voice in the world, and not an echo.

She is the youngest of three children, and has a brother and sister.

Her favourite book, Moby Dick by Herman Melville helped inspire her towards a career exploring  the natural world.

The language of diplomacy in 1853

Treaty of Peace in Perpetuity Agreed Upon by the Chiefs of the Arabian Coast on Behalf of Themselves, Their Heirs and Successors Under the Mediation of the Resident of the Persian Gulf, 1853
(This treaty gave the region the name “Trucial States”.)


We, whose seals are hereunto affixed, Sheikh Sultan bin Suggar, Chief of Rassool-Kheimah, Sheikh Saeed bin Tahnoon, Chief of Aboo Dhebbee, Sheikh Saeed bin Buyte, Chief of Debay, Sheikh Hamid bin Rashed, Chief of Ejman, Sheikh Abdoola bin Rashed, Chief of Umm-ool-Keiweyn, having experienced for a series of years the benefits and advantages resulting from a maritime truce contracted amongst ourselves under the mediation of the Resident in the Persian Gulf and renewed from time to time up to the present period, and being fully impressed, therefore, with a sense of evil consequence formerly arising, from the prosecution of our feuds at sea, whereby our subjects and dependants were prevented from carrying on the pearl fishery in security, and were exposed to interruption and molestation when passing on their lawful occasions, accordingly, we, as aforesaid have determined, for ourselves, our heirs and successors, to conclude together a lasting and inviolable peace from this time forth in perpetuity.

Taken from Britain and Saudi Arabia, 1925-1939: the Imperial Oasis, by Clive Leatherdale

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

ENGLAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers Pickford (Everton), Pope (Newcastle), Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders Chilwell (Chelsea), Dier (Tottenham), Guehi (Crystal Palace), James (Chelsea), Maguire (Man United), Shaw (Man United), Stones (Man City), Trippier (Newcastle), Walker (Man City)

Midfielders Bellingham (Dortmund), Gallagher (Chelsea), Henderson (Liverpool), Maddison (Leicester), Mount (Chelsea), Phillips (Man City), Declan Rice (West Ham)

Forwards Foden (Man City), Grealish (Man City), Kane (Tottenham), Rashford (Man United), Saka (Arsenal), Toney (Brentford)

What is graphene?

Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged like honeycomb.

It was discovered in 2004, when Russian-born Manchester scientists Andrei Geim and Kostya Novoselov were "playing about" with sticky tape and graphite - the material used as "lead" in pencils.

Placing the tape on the graphite and peeling it, they managed to rip off thin flakes of carbon. In the beginning they got flakes consisting of many layers of graphene. But as they repeated the process many times, the flakes got thinner.

By separating the graphite fragments repeatedly, they managed to create flakes that were just one atom thick. Their experiment had led to graphene being isolated for the very first time.

At the time, many believed it was impossible for such thin crystalline materials to be stable. But examined under a microscope, the material remained stable, and when tested was found to have incredible properties.

It is many times times stronger than steel, yet incredibly lightweight and flexible. It is electrically and thermally conductive but also transparent. The world's first 2D material, it is one million times thinner than the diameter of a single human hair.

But the 'sticky tape' method would not work on an industrial scale. Since then, scientists have been working on manufacturing graphene, to make use of its incredible properties.

In 2010, Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. Their discovery meant physicists could study a new class of two-dimensional materials with unique properties. 

 

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES

September 30
South Africa v Australia
Argentina v New Zealand

October 7
South Africa v New Zealand
Argentina v Australia

Story behind the UAE flag

The UAE flag was first unveiled on December 2, 1971, the day the UAE was formed. 

It was designed by Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah, 19, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi. 

Mr Al Maainah said in an interview with The National in 2011 he chose the colours for local reasons. 

The black represents the oil riches that transformed the UAE, green stands for fertility and the red and white colours were drawn from those found in existing emirate flags.

Our legal consultants

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

MOTHER OF STRANGERS

Author: Suad Amiry
Publisher: Pantheon

Pages: 304
Available: Now

Most polluted cities in the Middle East

1. Baghdad, Iraq
2. Manama, Bahrain
3. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
4. Kuwait City, Kuwait
5. Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
6. Ash Shihaniyah, Qatar
7. Abu Dhabi, UAE
8. Cairo, Egypt
9. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
10. Dubai, UAE

Source: 2022 World Air Quality Report

MOST POLLUTED COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD

1. Chad
2. Iraq
3. Pakistan
4. Bahrain
5. Bangladesh
6. Burkina Faso
7. Kuwait
8. India
9. Egypt
10. Tajikistan

Source: 2022 World Air Quality Report

Inside Out 2

Director: Kelsey Mann

Starring: Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri

Rating: 4.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

The Bio

Hometown: Bogota, Colombia
Favourite place to relax in UAE: the desert around Al Mleiha in Sharjah or the eastern mangroves in Abu Dhabi
The one book everyone should read: 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It will make your mind fly
Favourite documentary: Chasing Coral by Jeff Orlowski. It's a good reality check about one of the most valued ecosystems for humanity

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Dates for the diary

To mark Bodytree’s 10th anniversary, the coming season will be filled with celebratory activities:

  • September 21 Anyone interested in becoming a certified yoga instructor can sign up for a 250-hour course in Yoga Teacher Training with Jacquelene Sadek. It begins on September 21 and will take place over the course of six weekends.
  • October 18 to 21 International yoga instructor, Yogi Nora, will be visiting Bodytree and offering classes.
  • October 26 to November 4 International pilates instructor Courtney Miller will be on hand at the studio, offering classes.
  • November 9 Bodytree is hosting a party to celebrate turning 10, and everyone is invited. Expect a day full of free classes on the grounds of the studio.
  • December 11 Yogeswari, an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher, will be visiting the studio.
  • February 2, 2018 Bodytree will host its 4th annual yoga market.
Abramovich London

A Kensington Palace Gardens house with 15 bedrooms is valued at more than £150 million.

A three-storey penthouse at Chelsea Waterfront bought for £22 million.

Steel company Evraz drops more than 10 per cent in trading after UK officials said it was potentially supplying the Russian military.

Sale of Chelsea Football Club is now impossible.

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The specs: 2018 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Price, base / as tested Dh97,600
Engine 1,745cc Milwaukee-Eight v-twin engine
Transmission Six-speed gearbox
Power 78hp @ 5,250rpm
Torque 145Nm @ 3,000rpm
Fuel economy, combined 5.0L / 100km (estimate)

Company profile

Company: Rent Your Wardrobe 

Date started: May 2021 

Founder: Mamta Arora 

Based: Dubai 

Sector: Clothes rental subscription 

Stage: Bootstrapped, self-funded 

Essentials

The flights
Emirates, Etihad and Malaysia Airlines all fly direct from the UAE to Kuala Lumpur and on to Penang from about Dh2,300 return, including taxes. 
 

Where to stay
In Kuala Lumpur, Element is a recently opened, futuristic hotel high up in a Norman Foster-designed skyscraper. Rooms cost from Dh400 per night, including taxes. Hotel Stripes, also in KL, is a great value design hotel, with an infinity rooftop pool. Rooms cost from Dh310, including taxes. 


In Penang, Ren i Tang is a boutique b&b in what was once an ancient Chinese Medicine Hall in the centre of Little India. Rooms cost from Dh220, including taxes.
23 Love Lane in Penang is a luxury boutique heritage hotel in a converted mansion, with private tropical gardens. Rooms cost from Dh400, including taxes. 
In Langkawi, Temple Tree is a unique architectural villa hotel consisting of antique houses from all across Malaysia. Rooms cost from Dh350, including taxes.

Easter Sunday

Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Stars: Jo Koy, Tia Carrere, Brandon Wardell, Lydia Gaston
Rating: 3.5/5

The low down

Producers: Uniglobe Entertainment & Vision Films

Director: Namrata Singh Gujral

Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Nargis Fakhri, Bo Derek, Candy Clark

Rating: 2/5

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

If you go

The flights 

Emirates flies from Dubai to Funchal via Lisbon, with a connecting flight with Air Portugal. Economy class returns cost from Dh3,845 return including taxes.

The trip

The WalkMe app can be downloaded from the usual sources. If you don’t fancy doing the trip yourself, then Explore  offers an eight-day levada trails tour from Dh3,050, not including flights.

The hotel

There isn’t another hotel anywhere in Madeira that matches the history and luxury of the Belmond Reid's Palace in Funchal. Doubles from Dh1,400 per night including taxes.

 

 


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