Thinking ahead

Since 2010, policymakers in Israel have had to repeatedly intervene in the energy sector to deal with challenges — not just opportunities — presented by the discovery of large gas fields. In December 2014, Israel’s antitrust commissioner David Gilo revoked a previous agreement that allowed US based Noble Energy and Israeli company Delek to retain ownership

'General' Abou Faour

One man’s army

On a crisp February morning just before dawn, two boys walk down the narrow street leading to the center of the Sabra meat market with short knives tucked away in sheaths attached to their belts. Just a few months earlier, Health Minister Wael Abou Faour had told a press conference, “I’m embarrassed to show the

Lebanon's anemically slow internet cannot be considered broadband by any measure

Light a fire

Lebanon is far from a bastion of fast and cheap internet. But stacked next to bumpy disorganized highways, intermittent electricity and a recent proliferation of private water companies that distribute water of questionable quality when the state runs out, internet infrastructure is probably the best infrastructure that the country has aside from air and seaports.

|Greg Demarque|

A prescription of order

When word broke earlier this year that physicians and pharmacists have been treated to new prescription forms by order of Health Minister Wael Abou Faour, the matter seemed pale — perhaps even byzantine — when compared with the minister’s flashier preoccupations. Who wants to bother with discussing some bureaucratic, procedural reform when there are so

|Greg Demarque|

Waiting for (re)forms

Note: On April 2, 2015, the Ministry of Public Health announced that Minister Wael Abou Faour had issued a decision to adopt the final form of the unified prescription and to begin printing the new forms immediately, stipulating that use of the new forms will be obligatory starting June 1, 2015. The Lebanese people’s preference for the

|Greg Demarque|

Four reasons Lebanon’s internet is so slow

Though Lebanon has a high international capacity coming in through underwater fiber optic cables — to the likes of several hundreds of megabits per second (Mbit/s) — internet speeds at the actual level of the user are overwhelmingly low. In Beirut, they average about 3.2 Mbit/s according to the Ookla Net Index for household downloads,

Greg Demarque | Executive

Master muddler

Abdel Moneim Youssef is not your average public servant. If there is one compelling impression from meeting him in person, it is that there is much more to him than meets the eye. In this sense, his office at the Ministry of Telecommunications is revealingly unrevealing: large but functional, not overtly more guarded than the

Greg Demarque | Executive

Let it snow!

Lebanon has a longstanding reputation as the top winter sports destination in the region. With four major ski resorts in the country, each offering a unique experience, it is easy for both local and foreign winter activities enthusiasts to find what suits their tastes. The ghost of winter 2013–2014  With such a reputation to uphold, it is no

jo.sau | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Lebanon’s grand plans for a new capital

A project to build a new capital city for the Republic of Lebanon has been initiated and LBP 1.5 trillion ($1 billion) has already been pledged for the master plan and the acquisition of land, representatives of the Friends of Open Lebanese Society organization and Dar Arab Youth, an affiliate of the Arab Legacy League, told

Marco Monetti | Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Our national malady

We need our heads checked. Honestly, I think we Lebanese are suffering from what can only be described as Stockholm Syndrome. Why is it that people are suddenly so in love with our ministers? What exactly is Wael Abou Faour doing? “He’s making sure our food is safe to eat and pushing through healthcare reforms,”

(go_nils  | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0)

Enough talking

In fact, it could be a lot faster immediately, at very little effort or cost. A new state of the art network of fiber optic cables has been installed connecting some 350 central offices around the country (where international capacity is delivered before it reaches the end users), to many heavy users — such as

Joseph Kaï | Executive

Flipping the switch

Boosting Lebanon’s internet speeds — as well as its GDP — would be surprisingly simple. The country has a new, multi million dollar fiber optic network that forms a backbone for data traffic. It is laying idle, however, because a few switches needed to pass information have not been flipped. That is, the fiber optic

Naameh dump receives most of Beirut and Mount Lebanon's waste |Greg Demarque|

Cleaning up

If all goes as planned, 2015 will be a big year for new contracts in the waste management sector, which has been dominated by the Averda companies Sukleen and Sukomi since the 1990s. The government is pushing ahead with a national municipal solid waste (MSW) plan that will see the country divided into six service

Never enough. Each year global appeals for Syrian refugees fall short

The blame game

Lebanon’s two current crises will not evaporate anytime soon. Our economy is struggling and GDP growth rates are too low for the needs of an emerging country. Our cities and villages are confronted by a refugee crisis of immense proportions. Neither problem will go away if we just close our eyes and both are related

Steffane lui | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

How to entice right

One of the greatest challenges facing the Middle East is also one of the most underappreciated: how to attract and retain human capital. This is a real impediment to the strategic plans of some Middle East countries, particularly those in the GCC. They are making the transition away from resource based economies to knowledge based