The thyme trailblazers

A heavenly aroma greets you when passing by a bakery; tangy flavors linger on your taste buds long after you have swallowed that last bite. Yes, we are talking about zaatar—the faithful companion of the man’ousheh, a Lebanese breakfast favorite. Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon each have their own versions of zaatar, mixing different herbs and

Don’t miss out on innovation

Instead of finishing his degree in IT engineering at Damascus University, 25-year-old Ayham* fled Syria with his family to Lebanon in 2012. At first, he worked on a banana plantation, then as a graphic designer. With the help of a scholarship that covered half his tuition, he finally finished a degree in computer science at

Innovation economy needs investment

Lebanon being Lebanon, there are no statistics. But by the accounts of stakeholders throughout the country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, one big gap is not being filled: strong financial support from the state for research and development (R&D). Many governments make R&D investments, and the Lebanese government does fund the National Center for Scientific Research—which has four

Lebanon needs to clean up its act

Lebanon is once again staring down a waste management crisis, with news that the Costa Brava and Bourj Hammoud landfills will reach capacity in 2018—two years before the government’s initial estimate of 2020. In response, the cabinet is reportedly considering a proposal to reopen the infamous Naameh landfill, whose closure in 2015 sparked a crisis

Enough empty promises

Their crimes must not be forgiven again. For 11 years, Lebanese politicians spent some $130 billion without an audit. To pass the 2017 budget, our lawmakers defied the constitution by promising the audit will come next year instead of now. I’m not holding my breath. Let’s not lie to ourselves: Audits can be manipulated. We

Ball in their court

This summer, after years of procrastination, Lebanon passed a law increasing salaries for public sector workers. To help offset the salary increase, Parliament approved new taxes. But, in a surprising move, a group of parliamentarians challenged the constitutionality of the tax law in front of Lebanon’s highest court, the Constitutional Council, which ruled in their

A multilateral tale

For 12 years, Lebanon did not ratify a state budget, and politicians have never offered an adequate reason to explain why. To understand what went wrong, we need to understand the process. Who should be doing what, and when should they be doing it? What does it actually take to create and ratify a budget,

Getting the books back in order

On paper, the Lebanese state should function. The constitution—frequently ignored as it may be—envisions a rational budgetary process that allows for planning, checks and balances among different branches of government, and an annual allocation of resources based on anticipated needs. In simple terms, every year the government should ask Parliament for the legal authority to

Return to sanity now

After years without a state budget, Parliament met in October and voted the 2017 budget into law. What Parliament should have done is pass the 2018 budget, because the current fiscal year is almost over. There are also allegations that Parliament broke the law and violated the constitution: To pass a budget an audit must

Stalled progress

Public workers were protesting at the end of September out of fear the government might not honor legislation ordering an increase to their salaries and benefits. The protesters feared that the government might suspend the salary increase because the revenue it expected to cover the new spending was struck down by a court ruling. The

Hugged more tightly

Their corporate identity and logo look like a crossbreed of Dutch over-the-counter laxatives and a new French social media venture. The green color theme of its livery, interior seating, and uniforms is located somewhere between forest serenity and conservative living room furniture. They are Transavia. Their strategy and business model is that of a budget

Destination: Shouf

The verdant Shouf, famous for its unspoiled green vistas, is rapidly evolving into a popular tourist hotspot for Lebanese from across the country, as well as vacationing expatriates, Arab tourists, and even foreign visitors. The area is located southeast of Beirut and comprises many tourist must-sees, from the historic towns of Beiteddine and Deir Al

Passion and profit in Lebanon

Carlos Ghosn, who is Brazilian-Lebanese, is the chairman and chief executive of the French automotive group Renault, chairman and chief executive officer of the Nissan-Renault Alliance, and chairman of the board at Nissan Motor Corporation. During a recent visit to Lebanon, he participated in the launch of a real-estate project that will be based in

McLaren lands in beirut

September saw the launch of the supercar brand McLaren in the local market with a new showroom in Downtown’s 3 Beirut complex, with its vehicles on sale for the first time in the country. Executive sat down with Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Automotive Mike Flewitt to talk about the relatively young brand and their

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