Speech of His Excellency, Mr Patrick Renaud
European Commission Ambassador in Lebanon
Launching of ELCIM
Industrial Research Institute, December 7th, 2005

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The General Manager of Industrial Research Institute,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very sorry for the Minister’s absence today; however, my presence is indicative of the long term support provided by the European Union for industry and small enterprises. Lately, when the government launched the program related to small and medium enterprises, it introduced as well, and with the support of the European Union, an innovated instrument for loans guarantee.

This instrument, sponsored by Kafalat, opens real horizons for Lebanese enterprises.

Same will prevails today:

Opening ELCIM’s doors means opening new horizons. It also means providing industry with a consultant and a partner who goes along with its imperative modernization action and help it change and gain in the light of new international commercial laws.

Today, no need to cut any ribbon, since ELCIM’s employees have started working three months ago! All partners are moving and communicating and they got already in touch with sixty enterprises. Moreover, the steering committee chaired by Mr. Fady Abboud, has approved an action plan which includes effective ideas for the future.

Great challenges are undoubtedly facing ELCIM and the most worrying could be the exhaustion of bank’s funding sources, in other words, the increasing “oblivion “ of Lebanese banks intervention and mediation with regards to private sector.

Five years ago, this phenomenon became critical. In the year 2000, banks used to invest 33% of their resources in favor of the private sector. This percentage has dropped to 24% in the year 2004.

It is a matter of confidence.
In this context, ELCIM must undertake a major role through the reestablishment of confidence between banks and employers, and therefore, put its “stamp” -a necessary mark- which should alleviate the worries of fund providers and give them the quality guarantee they are looking for.

We have agreed with the Center’s partners, that the Center will not provide commitment, except for those enterprises who will show commitment to qualifications, continuous training to employees, guarantee trusted products, modernization and courage for innovation. This support will also be directed to all those committed to creating new and permanent jobs for the country.

Through past experience, ELCIM enjoys today the following two points of strength, required for success:

     ELCIM is no longer a project as in the past. It became a rooted organization in the Industrial Research Institute 
        which celebrated recently the experience of fifty years spent in the service of industry. This alliance allowed the 
        creation of new competencies to offer full service with essential value added to the industry. I would like to thank 
        the Industrial Research Institute and its managing director, Mr. Bassam Frenn, for the exerted efforts to join all 
        these energies.

     The private sector has become now capable of influencing strategic options undertaken by ELCIM, through its 
        representatives who form a majority in the steering committee.
        I came to know that a plan known as ”Industry for Lebanese youth 2010”, allows for better understanding 
        and better influence on the environment of industrial enterprises. It is of high importance for ELCIM to spread its field 
        knowledge, so as to put its distinctive experience to serve reforms which must be launched in the private sector.

Allow me at the end to address my encouragement and support to all those who participate in exerting their efforts to brighten the Lebanese industry in the world, and many of them are present between us today. To those, I say that the European Union offers them continuous support in order to achieve their vision through partnership agreements, as well as a presence in Lebanon and the willingness to widen the scope of this partnership.

Thank you for listening.