Author Archives: Matt Nash

Intelligent designs

Intelligent designs

Regular readers of the magazine will notice something’s different. Cleaner. Crisper. We’ve tweaked our layout, and matte paper is back for the first time since 2004. It’s a slightly new look, but we’re keeping some basic elements that define our identity. We’re a business publication. And a serious one. We write three-course meals, not light

Because it’s 2016

Successful Lebanese businesswomen are usually extra busy at the beginning of March, four of them tell Executive. It’s not the imminent close of the first quarter demanding increased attention, but rather requests from media outlets paying their annual homage to International Women’s Day on March 8. Frankly, this kind of coverage is demeaning. Equality is

Questioning the messenger

“Just five minutes,” the elderly man tells his waiting wife. He’s busy securing their financial future, he explains. The advertisement by al-Lebananiyeh al-Arabieh lil Tasleef (LAT), a loan company, could not have been clearer: quick and easy money. At the end, the ad duly informed viewers that potential customers need collateral to receive their loans,

Toward ethical lending

On the list of what separates humans from our primitive ancestors, one activity usually gets neglected: lending with interest. Finance seems embedded in our DNA. We have debt records that date back more than 4,000 years. As the historian Niall Ferguson put it in his book, “The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the

Shark hunt

Playtime is over. Nearly one year after calling for unregulated lenders to step out of the shadows, Banque du Liban (BDL), Lebanon’s central bank, imposed new restrictions and reporting requirements on what are locally known as comptoir creditors. Until January, articles 183 and 184 of the 1963 Code of Money and Credit – Lebanon’s banking

Dissecting a waste empire

While everyone in Lebanon — from taxi drivers to elected officials — “knows” the country’s largest waste manager is as dirty as the trash it collects, when pressed for proof, they have little to offer. Indeed, even questioning the “fact” that Sukleen — and, by extension, parent company Averda — is corrupt will likely get

Data deficiency syndrome

Incomplete as they are, the numbers look bad for Lebanon’s real estate sector in 2015. Construction permits are down. The number of transactions is down. Cement deliveries are down. Full-year stats were not available at time of writing, but year-on-year comparisons of the most recent data point to a deepening slump after a boom phase

Plan of (in)action

If a five-year plan to modernize Lebanon’s telecommunications infrastructure announced in July is being implemented, the Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT) isn’t talking about it. There’s no progress report on the website. The MoT hasn’t publicly announced tenders for the various projects needed for an upgrade. And the ministry’s reply to repeated interview requests on the

An unquantifiable tragedy

In January 2015, Lebanon put new visa rules in place for Syrians entering the country with an aim of stemming the flow of refugees crossing the border. In May, the government ordered the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to stop registering new refugees. As a result, the total number of

A rubbish decision

Lebanon has never gotten nation-wide waste management right. In 1971 the government hired a local consultant to help write a plan for treating and disposing of the country’s waste, according to the consultant’s website. While the company declined an interview request, the existence of hundreds of open dumps around the country attest to the fact