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Lebanon Competitiveness Assessment, USAID Middle East Bureau

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Banyan Global was a sub-contractor to Chemonics on the Asia and Middle East Economic Growth Best Practices (AMEG) Project. Through this mechanism, Banyan Global conducted the Lebanon Competitiveness Assessment, identifying impediments to private sector growth — particularly the growth of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) — and opportunities for the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to remove or alleviate these impediments in the future. In line with a “buyer-led” approach, this assessment examined the needs of SMEs and high-growth lead firms within key sectors and value chains to identify specific bottlenecks to growth and to identify strategic interventions to support SMEs developing goods and services for which demonstrated demand and commercial matchmaking opportunities exist. The assessment examined SME needs across five areas and made recommendations to support the following: 1) improved business enabling environment and institutional capacity of business associations and chambers; 2) demand-driven business development services; 3) increased trade and export linkages; 4) enhanced workforce development; and 5) opportunities for growth in special economic zones. Furthermore, this activity examined opportunities that exist for potential public-private sector partnerships to leverage resources to contribute to increased SME, productivity, sales, and exports. The recommendations also addressed the role of technological innovations to increase economic growth and private sector competitiveness, gender-focused programming, and synergies with USAID/Lebanon’s current economic strategy and ongoing portfolio.This work was coordinated and integrated with the “Lebanon SME Strategy, a Roadmap to 2020” developed by the Government of Lebanon’s Ministry of Economy and Trade.