On September 12, 2022, in the Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand, Sin El Fil, RDCL hosted a round table and discussion supported by USAID’s Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) project under the theme “Bridging the Gaps: Lebanon’s Healthcare System and Social Safety Net.” The event was the first of many that would be held in the coming months as a result of the RDCL’s partnership with TIF to address some of the most significant problems and difficulties that the Lebanese private sector is currently facing, including tourism, trade facilities, energy, agriculture and food security, banking and financial sector, innovation, and others.
Mr. Mark Rostal, Chief of Party for the TIF initiative, opened the ceremony with a welcome statement. Announcing the ASPIRE “Together Lebanon” Program (Actionable, Sustainable, Productive, Innovative, Responsible, and Ethical) in collaboration with the Economic Organizations, Mr. Nicolas Boukather, President of RDCL, gave the opening remarks. He emphasized the significance of participation on the part of all elements of the Lebanese private sector in the country’s revival. He also advocated for the necessary reforms, the transformation of the mindset of businesses, the creation of the new economic leaders of tomorrow, and unity of the private sector around clear values, vision, and National Economical Document, hence reinforcing the private sector as a pillar of nation building. In addition, he noted that ASPIRE encompasses more than twenty crucial areas of the Lebanese economy. He also emphasized the critical importance of the financial recovery plan and the requirement of reaching an agreement with the IMF in order to signal a resurgence in public confidence in the Lebanese economy.
The short-term recommendations made by the RDCL regarding the Lebanese healthcare system and social safety net were put forth by Mr. Roland Salloum, Head of the RDCL Health GPA (Group for Proposition and Action), who also stated that the RDCL would continue to work with all partners to complete a policy brief and paper on the subject. The general manager of Mount Lebanon Hospital and a member of the RDCL Board, Mrs. Roula Gharios Zahar, presented the long-term suggestions made by RDCL to improve the situation in the healthcare industry. Mr. Elie Nasnas, President of the Lebanese Insurance Association (ACAL), also spoke at the conference and discussed Lebanon’s potential for providing universal healthcare.
After the presentations, Dr. Sami Nader, RDCL lead technical expert, and the BIEE Technical Lead in partnership with TIF, moderated the discussion that followed. The round table was marked by the presence of representatives from USAID Lebanon, numerous RDCL members like TRANSFORMEUS CEO, Dr. Maurice Mouawad, who did an intervention on how to find a specific program developed by USAID – DAI to support the pharmaceutical industry; in addition to key actors from the Lebanese private sector including hospitals, medical doctors, insurance companies, as well as representatives of the Lebanese importers of both medical equipments and pharmaceutical companies, the president of Lebanese syndicate of private hospitals, local pharmaceutical producers, distributors, representative of foundation and a selection of Lebanese scholars of various leading Lebanese universities. It was finally agreed on aligning the private sector on a national vision in view of a collaboration with public sector stakeholders and relevant authorities.