France hosts conference to help hobbled Lebanon economy

France is holding an international conference devoted to debt-ridden Lebanon to bring in funds and lay groundwork to ensure money is well spent.

France's foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, opened Friday's conference, saying the private sector "must play its role in this transformation."

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri laid out his country's grim situation, which the Syrian war has accentuated. Fears of economic collapse in Lebanon are mounting ahead of next month's parliamentary elections, the first in nine years.

The conference is attended by 41 countries, international organizations and private sector representatives.

The meeting is not a classic donors' conference but is meant to seek an investment plan around infrastructure, water and energy, delineate structural reforms, and mobilize the private sector. It's to adopt a follow-up mechanism to accompany investment.