Economics & Policy articles

Unleash the speed

During five days in April, Lebanese internet users were given proof that their notoriously terrible connections have been kept that way on purpose. Lebanon had become a laughing stock. Back when Ookla – the US-based operator of the ubiquitous speedtest.net – offered public rankings of average internet download speeds by country, Lebanon was always near

Far off the target

In the first of a twelve-month series investigating Lebanon’s capacity to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Gaelle Kibranian Zavzavadjian, Stephanie Nakhel and Gebran Azar take a look at Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation. The Lebanese are blessed with favorable amounts of precipitation, with the highest average rainfall of any country in the

De-risking green power

Lebanon’s energy sector is characterized by a significant supply-demand imbalance, continuing growth in demand (5 percent per year), high generation costs (partly due to aging infrastructure), and a lack of financial sustainability. Electricité du Liban (EDL) cannot recover its operating costs and depends on the Lebanese government to subsidize operations. In 2013, EDL received transfers

Video: Natacha Tannous interviews Makram Azar about banking, US and European Macro Economics and the Middle East

Makram Azar is Chairman of Banking EMEA and Chairman of Barclays Bank PLC, MENA. Makram also chairs the Senior Client Group globally. Mr. Azar joined Barclays in September 2010 from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) where he was Managing Director and Head of Middle East and North Africa. Prior to joining KKR, Mr. Azar

Tax squeeze

Lebanon is closer to ratifying a national budget than it has been in recent memory. For the past 12 years, the country has not passed a budget into law. In recent years the roadblock has been, at least publicly, a salary increase for certain public sector workers. The debate is taking place in a fiscal

The long goodbye

As could have been expected, chaos is ensuing. While the situation is not as dire as it was in the hectic summer of 2015 – when protests raged and trash burned on the streets of the capital and its environs – waste in Lebanon is still far from well-managed. One full year after Tammam Salam’s

Vital and seeking vibrancy

The numbers for overall premiums growth, penetration and density in the Lebanese insurance market in 2017 may not bring huge surprises. In 2016 the sector delivered 3 percent nominal growth in gross premiums, from $1.52 billion in 2015 to $1.56 billion, according to the latest quarterly report of the Association of Insurance Companies of Lebanon

The battle between good and evil goes virtual

The serpent’s tale is a powerful narrative that has captured man’s attention over millennia. The contemporary version of the story goes something like this: the digital garden at first was created as a lush world filled with smart gadgets, useful computer programs, fun games, social networks and great business opportunities. People were delighted with these

Interview with a public servant

As part of our quest for highlighting possible future avenues of progress in the Lebanese Republic, Executive discussed the issue and importance of the 2017 budget with Alain Bifani, director general at the Ministry of Finance. In the course of the interview, the general director also commented on the systemic aspects of the public administration’s

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