Jean-Paul Gauthier was with the World Bank when tasked with helping establish Lebanon's special economic zone (SEZ) program from 2005-2006. Lebanon was concerned with ensuring that growth reached less developed regions and, with Jean-Paul's technical assistance, passed the Tripoli SEZ Law and designed an administrative structure. The Tripoli SEZ was hoped to catalyze growth in poorer areas through business linkages and prove the effectiveness of regulatory reforms.
Land reclamation, feasibility studies, and master-planning were completed by 2018, including a detailed design for onsite infrastructure, SEIA, infrastructure works tender. An architecture tender to design the “Knowledge and Innovation Center” was awarded to Mddm Architects in June 2019. Phase 1 infrastructure works were to be launched in 2Q2019, with broadband and water links to be completed by 3Q2019; road infrastructure launch is expected for 2020.