Author Archives: Benjamin Redd

Lebanon stops collecting inflation data

Lebanon stops collecting inflation data

When Lebanon’s central bank announced a stimulus package in January, it was largely welcomed. But for the critics the main concern was inflation — more money in the economy would lead to a hike in prices, effectively negating the effect of the new money altogether. But these critics have been silenced, not by being proven

A beginner’s guide to Lebanon’s debt crisis

Hovering at around 140 percent of GDP, Lebanon’s public debt ratio is thought to be the fifth-highest in the world — making it a perennial problem for politicians and policymakers alike. Our interactive guide explains the causes and structure of Lebanon’s debt problem. Click here to see the interactive chart.

Buying goods with your phone

Imagine a day in the not-too-distant future when you sit searching an app on your phone. You find something you want to buy, but you don’t have your credit card to hand. No worries, you can purchase the item directly, with the payment being charged to your phone bill. This is the future envisioned by

Moving towards an Iranian deal

After the latest round of talks over Iran’s nuclear program this month, Europe’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton struck a cautious tone. “For the first time that I’ve seen, [there has been] a real back and forward between” Iranian and international negotiators, she told the press following this month’s talks in Kazakhstan. But, she stressed,

A breakthrough for Lebanese e-commerce?

The Lebanese blogosphere lit up last week when PayPal announced at the ArabNet conference that it would begin offering services in the country later this year. A gaggle of online commentators welcomed the news, with responses ranging from excitement to mere relief. “I can’t tell you how much this helps me,” one commenter said. PayPal

Amid chaos and corruption

Sitting atop shifting sands, the Mosul Dam in western Iraq is precariously vulnerable to cavities that regularly form beneath it. If the holes grow large enough, they can threaten the dam’s structure, so engineers pump grout to fill them. After the 2003 US invasion, the Americans spent $27 million hoping to improve the situation. But

Gas prices across the Arab world

The price Arab consumers pay at the pump is drastically lower than in most other developing and emerging economies, according to data from the US-based consultancy AIRINC. While this is in part due to the rich resources deep below the lands and waters of many Arab states, it is mostly due to government manipulation. Click

Mikati’s striking dilemma

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati appears to be all out of options. Between thousands of public sector workers on strike for better pay and economists that warn of the dangers of a new wage scale, the billionaire Lebanese prime minister once again finds himself walking a fine line. On the one hand, public servants are

Is Bahrain’s economy stabilizing?

Two years ago last week, thousands of protesters took to the streets in the tiny island kingdom of Bahrain in the wave of pro-democracy uprisings sweeping the region. The government cracked down brutally — including using illegal tactics according to the independent commission set up to investigate the events. The result was more protests met

Lebanon’s gender gap

For at least a quarter of a century, development economists have been documenting the close relationship between gender equality and development: poorer regions tend to have less equality, while richer areas are more egalitarian. Measures of gender equality are thus considered major indicators of economic development by bodies like the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).