In Lebanon ITC partnered with the Ministry of Economy and Trade to assess where synergies can be created among operating TISIs to better accompany enterprises for export readiness and markets access. Being one of the most open economies in the Arab region, Lebanon has a well developed trade support infrastructure consisting of governmental organizations, chambers of commerce, sector specific organizations, etc. Nevertheless, the lack of coordination and in-depth understanding of companies` needs shows that the support services are fragmented and not demand-driven.
The Ministry of Economy and Trade requested ITC to carry out an institutional mapping of Lebanon’s TISIs network with a purpose to assess the capacity and performance of existing TISIs regarding trade support services and estimate the gaps in current demand and offering of those services. The improved synergy among TISIs in Lebanon will allow enhancing the quality of assistance provided to national exporters and avoiding unnecessary duplication in service portfolio of different institutions. Consequently, national exporters will benefit from enhanced quality and variety of available services.
The institutional mapping of the Lebanon’s TISIs network took place during the time period and consisted of the two main phases. During the first phase a database with comprehensive profiles of 21 active TISIs was built, providing the key information about size, service portfolio, capabilities, governance structure, and client base of each organization. After presenting an exhaustive portrait of all institutions, the existing linkages among the key institutional players were analysed to explore potential for more effective networking mechanisms at the national level.
The second phase implied a series of face-to-face interviews with a sample of exporters and trade policy makers in order to assess the relevance of the trade support services currently available in the country. The interviews delivered valuable insights into the users` experience of the network and different types of services, detecting the ones that are currently underprovided or absent.
In November 2016 the final report of the mapping exercise was presented at the restitution workshop organised by the Ministry of Economy and Trade in Beirut. The event generated a great interest and gathered a wide group of stakeholders from public and private sectors. The final report included the thorough analysis of identified gaps and overlaps in provided trade support services as well as relevant recommendations towards strengthening of individual TISI’s capacity and service offer of the network, as a whole. Furthermore, the report outlined three possible options aimed at optimizing the national trade support infrastructure:
To closely explore a possibility to launch the national TPO in Lebanon and address further challenges revealed by the institutional mapping, ITC in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and Trade developed a bankable project proposal “Lebanon Export diversification and Expansion Project” that was submitted for the consideration of the AfTIAS Board in December 2016.