The proportion of Syrian refugees who are food secure has fallen from 32 percent in 2013 to 11 percent in 2015. In this photo, taken in 2014, Ahmed, 15, from Raqqa starts a generator to provide electricity for his family's tent in an encampment for refugees in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Lack of power makes it impossible to keep food in such circumstances. European Commission | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

The fear of an empty plate

There is an old Lebanese saying for reassurance in troubled times. For years, comparatively well-off people have told others, especially children, that ‘ma fi hadan bimout min el jou’’ (no one dies of hunger) when they complain excessively. While that may be true for some, five years of a refugee crisis coupled with long-standing structural

Way beyond cars and football

It means one thing and one thing only when flags of many colors are hoisted on Lebanese balconies: football is imminent. Famed for one of the most consistent and largest shows of fandom for big football nations, the first diehard Lebanese fans of the Nationalmannschaft – a word which the most-watched Arab sport reporters here


How secured is the Lebanese insurance sector?

The insurance penetration rate in Lebanon for 2014 was $557 premium per capita or 3.3 percent of GDP and very low for personal lines. Hence, there is much room for growth. However, if the insurance sector continues to grow without enforcing the appropriate solvency adequacy and corporate governance reform, the possibilities of default would certainly


Insuring growth

E   Can you confirm data suggesting that AROPE Insurance maintains a leading role in underwriting comprehensive motor insurance, meaning insurance that covers the risks of owning and operating a car? Yes, and we are the most profitable company among composite insurers which provide both life and non-life insurance, as per the 2014 Annual Report

Illustration by Ivan Debs

Anatomy of an insurance sector

The Lebanese insurance industry is enigmatic in the sense that numerous companies – 50 – share $1.5 billion in gross premiums but that not one of the companies is listed. For a considerable time – at least in the era of the current insurance law which was updated almost 20 years ago – the country’s

Jeff M | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Insuring a healthy economy

Insurance is good for an economy. It is as simple as that. By being insured, that is by dedicating between 3 and 10 percent of their gross domestic product to financial care and protection of life, economic stakeholders in developed countries globally manage risk and prepare for problems arising in any situation – from earthquakes,

Greg Demarque

Retribution over rehabilitation

Drug use in Lebanon is said to be prevalent but remains difficult to define. An estimate from a 2012 report by the Institute of Health Management and Social Protection at Saint Joseph University in Beirut suggested that the “number of drug users in Lebanon ranges from 10000 to 15000 and that this figure is continuously

Illustration by Ivan Debs

Going it alone, together

Samar Ibrahim doesn’t like her current office. Since February, necessity has forced her into a small space in the bowels of ABC Mall, Ashrafieh. She suggests meeting for an interview instead at Urbanista on the top floor. It’s fitting that she’s chosen a coffee shop as a setting – she sounds like her own ideal

Lebanese Treasures Land produces 200 tons of snails a year (Greg Demarque | Executive)

Farming for the future

Entrepreneurship in Lebanon is typically associated with technology – generally app development or a high tech startup – but is rarely associated with farming and agriculture. Yet, within the agriculture sector, there is a rising number of business people who deserve to be labelled as entrepreneurs. They are introducing new and unusual food products to

Illustration by Joseph Kai

Enough brand confusion

I’m confused. Every time we write about the country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, our researchers and fact checkers conduct extensive investigations in an attempt to once and for all classify central bank circular 331 in the right policy framework. They always come to the same conclusion: it’s an equity guarantee. The whole purpose of this policy instrument

Greg Demarque | Executive

Growing an organic Lebanon

Rooted in a 2007 project to grow organic fruits and vegetables at the Massoud family farm in Batroun, North Lebanon, for their own consumption and distribution to relatives and friends, Biomass has since become one of Lebanon’s biggest producers and distributors of organic products. Soon after establishing the company, the Massouds found that their farm

Illustration by Ivan Debs

Lebanon: land of plenty?

Based on our geography textbooks, Lebanese school students grow up learning that Lebanon has a strong agriculture sector with practically each region excelling at growing a certain type of fresh produce – from the citrus fruits in Sidon and Tyre to the olives in Koura, North Lebanon and South Lebanon to the many crops in

Illustration by Ivan Debs

A sector worth saving

“Pity the nation that eats a bread it does not harvest,” wrote Gebran Khalil Gebran back in 1934. Lebanon, which today imports up to 80 percent of its food needs (according to a yet to be published report prepared for ESCWA,) is far from harvesting its own bread and is in dire need of redesigning


Beirut Madinati

Berytus Nutrix Legum, or Beirut as cradle of the law in its Latin expression, has lost all meaning in times such as these, when our national institutions have become decrepit due to the decay of the political culture of the ruling class. As a result, local authorities (municipalities and federations of municipalities) are one of