[UPDATE] 2013 is now over and PayPal is still not available in Lebanon. I contacted the company to get more info about that. You can check their reply at the end of this post. I precise again that in March 2013, PayPal said it will soon available in Lebanon and most probably by the end of the year. It was never stated that this was a certainty.
Elias Ghanem, MENA general manager of PayPal, announced at the ArabNet 2013 Conference in Beirut that the famous online payment service will soon be available in Lebanon. And this is most probably happening this year.
I had the chance to discuss with Mr. Ghanem (in company of Blog Baladi and Gino’s Blog) after his public interview and asked him about the reasons behind the late release of the service in the country: As opposed to the popular belief that the problem is all about the restrictions imposed on Lebanese credit cards, PayPal’s GM mentioned that the company follows a roadmap. He explained that the company unrolls its service gradually in different countries according to priority level. The GM confirmed that there is no legal restriction on Lebanon and the only problem is the market not witnessing an important rate of online payment.
It seems like online payment is growing in the country pushing PayPal to add Lebanon on its priority list for 2013 along with Egypt.
PayPal’s reply by the end of 2013:
My name is Laurent Wakim and I am in charge of PayPal’s business in the MENA region.
As my colleague explained to you, when we announced the launch of PayPal services in Egypt in May, there was a misinterpretation about Lebanon’s launch. In 2012, PayPal decided to have a dedicated team focusing on the MENA region. As part of the priorities, expanding our geographic footprint is among the most important ones. That’s why we launched our business in Egypt.
Lebanon is an important market to us (and to me being Lebanese) however when PayPal looks at new opportunities, we need to prioritize them and they compete against other initiatives whether new products, new geographies, …etc. So while enabling Lebanon remains a priority for us, we don’t have any timeline that we can share. There are no reasons per se why PayPal is not launching Lebanon, it is a matter of priorities.
My best regards.