Author Archives: Paul Cochrane

It pays to shop around

It pays to shop around

  With more than 60 of them jostling for market share, one would expect Lebanese banks to use every trick in the book to lure in customers — including attractive interest rates. Curiously, however, the banks don’t advertise their rates. Instead, offers are made on services, specialized cards, mortgages and loans — the more usual

Shifty as a desert fox

As readers of a business magazine, I am no doubt preaching to the converted, but it really does pay to scan the financial pages to know what’s going on with the movers and shakers of this world. If you had confined yourself to reading ‘straight’ news and the op-ed pages, or watching TV news for

Who owns the banks

Lebanon’s banking sector has been called many things: the unofficial government, the country’s financial savior, a nepotistic mafia, and that ‘other economy,’ which continuously shines while the ‘real economy’ limps behind.  That the banks have extraordinary influence here is a given, having funded the country’s post-war reconstruction through loans to the government and ridden out

orascom telecom holding – Khalid Bichara

Khalid Bichara is the chief executive officer of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Holding, which has operations in Africa, Europe, Canada and Asia, as well as managing the Lebanese telecom provider Alfa. Bichara sat down with Executive at the Alfa headquarters in Beirut to discuss privatization, market share and why Lebanon still doesn’t have 3G. E  Samer

Antiquities right of return

I am among those fortunate enough to not only have visited the cream of the Middle East’s major historical sites — among them Persepolis, the Valley of the Kings, Palmyra and Baalbek — but also viewed antiquities taken from these places in European and American museums. Few people in Iran, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon have

Time to lay new tracks

The Middle East and the United States have a lot in common when it comes to transportation. Both places have a love affair with the automobile and both had long-distance train networks well over 100 years ago. Both now also have an over abundance of private vehicles clogging up the roads while railways and public

Q&A – Paul Griffiths

DubaiAirports Chief Executive Officer Paul Griffiths currently oversees operationsat Dubai International while at the same time coordinating the launch of DubaiWorld Central-Al Maktoum International (DWC), which is slated to be the world’slargest passenger and cargo hub. He sat down with Executive to discuss thecompany’s activities. E   Dubai International became thethird busiest airport in the world

Eruption disruption

Expect the unexpected” is a terrible cliche, but given the wars, natural disasters and financial crises of late, it could be considered standard procedure for our times. While a volcanic eruption was to be expected — at some point or another as volcanologists frequently warn — Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull’s burst of ashy activity on April

The region’s rising risk

Getting labeled as a high risk country for firms to operate in, or receiving a low financial rating by an agency, is like a movie getting slapped with a XXX rating instead of the General Release investors had hoped for — meaning the mainstream conservatives are going to stay well away.  Recently, ratings agency Moody`s

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