Over the past few years, the country had developed new ties in the Middle East and around the world. Perhaps most importantly, it had begun to receive inflows of foreign investment from French, Italian, German, British, Korean and Finnish companies – mainly in the form of government contracts to develop its electricity grid, water treatment plants and telecommunications infrastructure.

According to the Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation, Lebanon received the third-largest share of Arab multilateral investments — approximately $1.05bn — in 2004, an increase of 23.5% over 2003, and representing about 18% of total inter-Arab investments in 2004.

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Assuming a peace is established, observers are hopeful Lebanon can do it again. “I believe that once the fighting ceases, and there is a permanent peace in force, Lebanon’s prospects will be excellent,” says Roger Schwartz, senior vice-president of Aon Trade Credit.

“Once those pre-conditions are met and Lebanon starts to rebuild, the investors will go back.”