Author Archives: Yasser Akkaoui

Wanted: risk takers

Our financial system needs to wake up. Once the dynamic driver of our nation’s economy, it’s long slumbered at the wheel, abandoning industry and entrepreneurial activity in favor of cozy deals on government debt. The result? Stagnant industry, few exports, a huge current account deficit and a morbidly high brain drain as our young people

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,”

Ladies first

Lebanon still has people, right? While this may sound like a dumb question, it was the only thing running through my mind after a 90 minute meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on February 23. We were talking about Lebanon’s economic opportunities, but the speaker had a singular focus: natural resources. He talked about oil.

Riddle me this

For an entire month, our investigative reporters tried to answer a painfully simple question: is Lebanon using its fiber optic backbone for data traffic? The result — we still don’t know. It’s a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma! Even the minister might not know. Instead, there are people hiding something, and I

Resigned to failure

The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon is in a unique position. It has autonomy to make many decisions on its own and is more or less immune from having its work disrupted by a political class that cannot make decisions. IDAL does not sit for years with its hands tied, awaiting a government decree to

The unsuspected juggernaut

There’s a parallel space we Lebanese have learned to operate in — a place where the crooks in power have no influence. In that space, we’ve flourished in 2014. Our banks are strong, our entrepreneurs are maturing, our design space is expanding and our industrialists are investing in mechatronics, putting the country on a path

We’re 20 years too late

In the mid 90s, tech startups were new and sexy. Bill Clinton was in the White House, and Monica too. Marrouche restaurant was still serving. All while American entrepreneurship was changing the world, generating trillions of dollars of value, pleasing clients and investors. The bubble that formed out of the frenzy burst in 2000. It

A dream turns to shame

This month’s oil and gas special report was painful to write. What started as an exciting research project on what promises to be the industry that could break the vicious cycle of corruption and cronyism ended up being a reality check that thrusts the truth in our face again. The oil and gas industry won’t

Hope is not a plan

They say ignorance is bliss, so let’s indulge. Let’s ignore that global temperatures are rising — albeit at a slower pace since 1999. Let’s ignore that springtime snow cover in the northern hemisphere has dropped 2 percent per decade since 1996. Let’s also ignore the possibility that an El Niño event this winter could make