Kings of the cluster

Rabih Saba and Marwan Ayoub, the co-founders of Venture Group, certainly have a lot to be proud of. Through leveraging their years of experience in hospitality consultation, the duo developed their first hospitality cluster on Uruguay Street in 2011. Fast forward to 2016 and they have developed two more clusters in Lebanon: The Village Dbayeh

Too many plates on the table?

In a letter to his son’s teacher, Abraham Lincoln wrote that “only the test of fire makes fine steel”. Lebanon’s food and beverage (F&B) operators have been through several tough tests of fire over the past five years, including a decrease in tourism and dwindling local purchasing power. Nevertheless, they have emerged more seasoned and

Start me up

EXECUTIVE interviewed French Ambassador Emmanuel Bonne via email about French contributions to Lebanon’s entrepreneurship ecosystem as well as his country’s assistance to Lebanon. E   In terms of the economic relationship between the two countries, we’ve heard the French government will be helping to fund and build Smart ESA (École supérieure des affaires). What added

Is Lebanon’s startup ecosystem sustainable?

When I was first introduced to Beirut’s start-up ecosystem in 2011, AltCity was refurbishing its first space, the Seeqnce experiment had just launched, MEVP was one of the few venture capital (VC) firms investing in Lebanon, Endeavor was just opening, and Wamda and ArabNet were nascent. Fast-forward to 2016 and Beirut is a different city

A promise of wealth

Oussama Kaissi is the chief executive officer of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICEIC), the insurance arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). The IDB is a Saudi Arabia-based multilateral organization which comprises a group of Islamic institutions in the realm of finance. Executive sat down with Kaissi to

A retrospective

It is understandable that Freddie Baz, the chief strategist of Lebanon’s largest bank, Bank Audi, presented a divergent view from the central bank’s narrative explaining the latter’s financial engineering (see story and infographic). Whereas the analysis picture drawn by Banque du Liban (BDL) focused on the very positive impacts of this quantitative easing measure, Baz

Agriculture overload

Following more than two years of political inertia and stagnation, a spirit of optimism is gripping Lebanon after the election of a new president on October 31, 2016, and the imminent formation of a new national unity government. There are great expectations that this optimism will be translated into a more conducive environment for higher

The Lebanese solar revolution

Over the last five years, Lebanon has been in the midst of a solar energy revolution. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology, once considered to be expensive to install and operate, has become increasingly cost-competitive in a relatively short period of time. In late September 2016, the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Decentralized Renewable Energy Generation Project

Regional instability harms Lebanese exports

The year 2016 was a difficult one for Lebanon’s manufacturing and agriculture sectors. Exports have been one of the clearest indicators of the challenges the sectors have faced and, in general, of Lebanon’s depressed economy – largely due to the war in neighboring Syria, a conflict that has cut Lebanon off from its larger trading

Limited reset

For relations between the UK and the European Union, 2016 was a year of total reboot. Half a year after the historic Brexit vote, details of what the actual Brexit deal will be are still unclear. However, with little impact on the relations between the UK and Lebanon, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s ambassador is

New strategy needed for Lebanon’s oil and gas

One of the key issues that Lebanon’s new government must address – and the list is long – is the two oil and gas-related decrees that have been collecting dust in the Council of Ministers (COM) for more than three years. Despite a relatively upbeat start, led by the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) in December

A year toward the recovery of Lebanon

“It’s time to change the world” was the new motto embraced by the leaders of 193 countries during the 70th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2015. They signed off on a set of 17 ambitious goals, along with 169 associated targets, to together end extreme poverty, sustain prosperity, combat

Unemployed and underemployed

Perhaps few issues in Lebanon are cause for more spirited debate than access to employment for Syrian refugees. Yet due to insufficient data, the economics of the issue have only been credibly argued in the most macro of terms. Nevertheless, a series of new development projects and policy reforms could provide more employment opportunities for

From Paris to Marrakesh and beyond

Back in 2015, the world agreed to a new climate regime, dubbed the Paris Agreement. A new order was set, where both rich and less fortunate countries jointly engaged in the fight against climate change. This requires action to reduce greenhouse gases – those behind climate change – as quickly as possible. The agreement came

Outlook brightens for renewables

Renewables are the energy source of the future. Not too many years back it was hard to conceive that the sun’s rays could be harnessed into electricity – those what-will-the-future-look-like Laserdisc videos students were forced to watch when the substitute teacher covered 8th grade Life Science just didn’t seem that realistic. While planet earth may

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