ArabNet Beirut 2018. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri opened the 9th ArabNet conference Wednesday with an upbeat speech about the promising future of technology and IT in Lebanon, two days after unveiling the $48 million fund for startups. Before an audience of mainly young Lebanese entrepreneurs, Hariri voiced strong support for the country's tech sector, particularly the new generations of innovators and business leaders.Salameh spoke about the role of finance in Lebanon's tech sector, including Circular 331, the banking guarantee for startup investments.Describing the current era as undergoing a tsunami of change, Salameh said: "We recognize that the financial sector plays a leading role in the development and modernization of the Lebanese economy. However, growth is largely linked to improving Lebanon's competitiveness, whereby the knowledge economy plays a significant role. It also comes at a time when the country's tech ecosystem has evolved from a small community nearly 10 years ago to a thriving scene of talented entrepreneurs, with some companies showing global potential.According to an ArabNet survey of 90 Lebanese tech startups, two out of three face significant challenges with regulations and accessing talent with the right skill sets.
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