Economics & Policy articles

Lebanon’s mismanagement strikes again

Lebanon’s mismanagement strikes again

Lebanon is an oasis. In a region synonymous with desert, the only significant stretches of sand in the tiny, water-rich country are along its 220-kilometer Mediterranean coast. It is the only place in the Middle East with a natural ski season, yet it still does not take on-the-ground snowfall measurements—assessments have been done by studying

In need of new energy

Lebanon’s electricity sector was not saved in 2017, despite an emergency plan from the Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) endorsed by the cabinet earlier in the year. While the electricity needs for much of the country did not improve much this year, the outlook for 2018 and beyond looks a little brighter. Lebanon currently

Fiscal performance and the debt outlook

There has been quite a lot of concern regarding Lebanon’s recent fiscal performance  and its debt outlook. In its Article IV reviews for Lebanon, the International Monetary Fund has repeatedly alerted officials that the debt burden could derail the government from attaining its economic objectives and could be the prime risk source on financial stability,

Political maneuvering

According to elected officials, 2017 was a year of achievement for the Lebanese state. After years of political polarization that prevented even basic governance, lawmakers made progress this year by passing the first state budget in 12 years, appointing officials to fill vacant positions in security, judicial, and other state institutions, and ratifying a new

Where do we go now?

At the end of 2017, Lebanon does not know exactly where its economy stands because there is a lack of publicly available quantifiable data to suggest what direction Lebanon is headed in the coming year and beyond. We know that the economy is in a bad way, thanks to a few high-level indicators like stagnant

Lebanon’s waste: another ongoing saga

The long-term effects of Lebanon’s 2015 waste-management crisis will likely linger for years, and chances that the experience will be relived in the medium-term remain high. Incineration is the approved future for nearly half of Lebanon’s waste, despite the fact that opposition has repeatedly derailed incineration plans in the past and opponents to government waste

Lebanon’s oil & gas sector

  Lebanon is finally stepping into the exploration phase. The Council of Ministers approved the awarding of exploration and productions licenses mid-December to a consortium made of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek. Contracts are expected to be signed in January 2018. Given the context that surrounded the organization of Lebanon’s first offshore licensing

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

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

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