Tripoli Special Economic Zone - The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs with the AUB Masters program in Urban Planning and Policy, Department of Architecture and Design held a lecture and open discussion entitled: "The Tripoli Special Economic Zone: Piloting Public Private Partnerships for Economic Growth in Lebanon" by Sateh El-Arnaout Senior Urban and Regional Development Specialist Middle East and North Africa Region, World Bank. Dr. Sateh El-Arnaout is a Senior Urban and Regional Development Specialist at the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa Region. He brings more than 25 years of experience to a wide range of areas on projects in 18 countries, spanning 3 continents. In 1989, he was awarded the "Sir Benjamin Baker" medal by the "Institution of Civil Engineers" for his research work on asset management in the UK. During 2007-2010, he was seconded from the World Bank to the Ministry of Finance and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in Lebanon, providing policy advice to the Government of Lebanon. He currently manages a large urban and infrastructure portfolio in the GCC, Iraq, Lebanon and Libya. This presentation will provide an overview of international best practices in developing Special Economic Zones, with focused observations on background, scope and policy framework in the Lebanese context. - tsez,tripoli,lebanon,economic,zone,special


TSEZ is a multi-use economic zone complete with all the required infrastructure, innovation, and utilities. It is the first in Lebanon, located in Tripoli and designed to be one of the most attractive, efficient and connected special zones in the Middle East region.




Tripoli Special Economic Zone has been established as per the Law No 18 issued in the year 2008. It stretches over 590,000 m2 and the and aims to create more than 5000 job opportunities and develop the economy of the area and the country.  

TSEZ is more than 55 Hectares in size of equipped land. It is mainly divided into 2 zones: the Port site zone (Industrial & Logistics Center) with an area of 513,000 m2 and the Rachid Karame International Fair zone (Knowledge & Innovation Center) with an area of 75,000 m2. Each zone provides a unique yet complementary set of advantages that will turn TSEZ into a logistic, trade and innovation hub, not only for Lebanon but for the Middle East region as well. [Read more about KIC] [Read more about RKIF

Being located in Tripoli gives the TSEZ many competitive advantages; in addition to the fact that Tripoli is the second largest city in Lebanon, it has a noteworthy locality on the regional economic and political map. Tripoli is a short distance by road to the Syrian border (30 km)., lies on the shortest path out to Syrian-Turkish trade routes, a short distance to the Rene Mouawad airport, and will, in the near future, benefit from a planned railway network linking Tripoli to the Syrian border. These significant qualities will potentially grant the TSEZ a major role as a hub for the reconstruction of Syria as well as a platform for upstream and downstream oil and gas activities and easy access to the growing economies of the Gulf, Levant and North Africa. [Read more about port side]




The TSEZ will be one of the most attractive, efficient and connected special zones in the Middle East region due to:

  • Reasonably priced industrial land
  • Competitive local labor cost
  • Uninterrupted power supply
  • Incentives for labor
  • Tax incentives
  • Port infrastructure


Once completed, the Zone will enjoy a unique administrative, legal, and regulatory framework with a single window clearance, substantial financial, administrative and fiscal incentives with no tax holiday limitations, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and utility services




In 2009, the Lebanese Cabinet passed several implementation decrees paving the way for a faster implementation of the law.

Lebanon in general and Tripoli in specific has struggled with several barriers that have historically hindered foreign direct investment and prevented many local private sector businesses from expanding their operations in Lebanon. The creation of the TSEZ will attempt to overcome many of these barriers and thus has the potential to attract investment from throughout Lebanon and abroad.


TSEZ will expand Lebanon’s trade potential and create sustainable jobs and investment in a respectful environment by offering serviced industrial and commercial facilities supported by a conducive business climate


The TSEZA will be the focal trading and business platform for investors and a model for doing business in Lebanon; acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic growth and a lever for the transformation of Tripoli and North Lebanon.

TSEZ Values

The Authority will be guided by: (1) Global best practices; (2) Good governance;  (3) Commercial principles; (4) Environmentally and socially responsible practices and relations; (5) Modern, progressive and innovative client service delivery models.


TSEZ Commitments
TSEZ Objectives
TSEZ Unique Selling Proposition

Long-term protection of environmental quality and human health and safety


TSEZ Authority will adopt an environmental policy compliant with ISO 14,000 (Environmental Management Standards) and ISO 14,001 (Environmental Management System) that commits to long-term protection of environmental quality and human health and safety by providing sufficient financial support for environmental and social programs, educating and training employees on these programs, and engaging with the surrounding communities and other interested stakeholders.



Sanctity of Labor Rights


The TSEZ Authority will adhere to international commitments made under the International Labor Organization to ensure the sanctity of labor rights for employees working within the TSEZ and will create the proper enforcement and monitoring procedures, to ensure compliance of employers and to identify and penalize those employers who violate labor rights. The Authority will ensure that companies operating in the zone provide medical benefits to workers and their dependents similar or better to those proposed by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). Employment contracts signed in the TSEZ will be monitored for compliance by the TSEZ Authority.



Risk management–Principles and Guidelines


The TSEZ Authority will adopt an emergency response plan through the adoption of ISO 31000:2009- Risk management–Principles and Guidelines aimed at minimizing employee exposure to risk and injury, and limiting potential impacts to the environment in emergency situations.

The TSEZ was set up to attract foreign and local investment, promote exports, tackle unemployment in Northern Lebanon, specifically the Tripoli urban area and contribute to the government's regional development agenda. It is expected that the total number of jobs created by the TSEZ facilities would vary between 9,522 and 11,207, including direct, indirect and induced employment (respectively, 20% induced employment and maximum of 40% induced employment).

More specifically, the development objectives of the TSEZ are as follows:

  • Promote net exports of goods and services
  • Create employment opportunities and raise the standard of living of the North governorate
  • Generate additional economic activity and promote the development of new value-added sectors
  • Support SME development by creating backward and forward linkages to increase output and raise the standards of local enterprises that supply goods and services to the zone
  • Develop human resource skills and expertise and promote technology transfers
  • Create a demonstrative effect for the National economy 
  • Strategic Location: Situated in the second largest city in Lebanon, thus leveraging significant human resources and raw material capacities and providing easy access to the Arab region through Syria to Iraq, Turkey, and the Gulf.
  • Connectivity: To the rest of the country and to the region; only 80km from the Beirut International airport, 30 km from the Syrian border, 2 Km away from RKIF, 21 Km from René Mouawad Airport.
  • Attractive Incentives: Substantial financial, administrative and fiscal incentives with no tax holiday limitations in addition to the availability of the skilled and highly creative and multilingual labor force
  • Accessibility to Markets: Adjacent to the newly expanded Port of Tripoli, to the planned railway network linking Tripoli to the Syrian border and to the Rene Mouawad airport; In addition to market access to regional trade blocs such as the Pan Arab Free Trade Agreement (PAFTA), the EU Association Agreement and the free trade agreement with Turkey
  • Liberalized business environment: The TSEZ Authority will issue all licenses, permits, and clearances at one location inside the TSEZ. It is also worth mentioning that the entrepreneurial dynamic private sector and the free market economy will be located there as well.
  • On-site customs services: Streamlined customs procedures to allow for faster clearance of products and raw materials.
  • Specialized infrastructure: State of the art infrastructure with the option of a private sector provision of utility services. In addition, the promising platform for the establishment of upstream and downstream companies for future oil and gas exploration off the Lebanese shores.
  • Competitive land prices: long-term leasing of facilities and land at low costs
  • High-speed internet infrastructure: Tripoli is the landing point of the India-Middle East-Western Europe (IMEWE) submarine communication cable system 
TSEZ Location

The TSEZ is Located in Tripoli, the second largest City in Lebanon (Explore more about Tripoli) that is well known for its historical richness and beautiful surroundings, it could be a great destination for historical tourism and for those who want to enjoy a calm and relatively lower cost stay. [Read more about Tripoli]


The TSEZ is a model of an integrated economic development composed essentially of two centers:

The Logistic and Industrial center is located at the seaside (on the North-Western edge of Tripoli district ) industrial area, fishing harbor, and the business zone. It is part of the Urban Community of Al Fayhaa (UCF), a union of four municipalities: Tripoli, El Mina, El Beddawi and El Qalamoun. This Municipal Union is part of Tripoli Caza. 2 Km away from RKIF, adjacent to the TSEZ, 21 Km from René Mouawad Airport and 30 Km from the Syrian border
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The Knowledge and innovation center: located at the Rashid Karami International fair a logistics center and an education and training zone, all of which are supported by a multimodal transport system that connects it with nearby regions. The total area offered for the development of the KIC is approximately 100 hectares, situated in the southern quadrant of the city of Tripoli next to the coastal highway in close proximity to the central business district of Tripoli and 600m from the seaside. The Fair is considered an important monument in the city and originally designed by Oscar Niemeyer the famous Brazilian architect.
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