Economics & Policy articles

Q & A: Fouad Siniora – Forward thinking

Former finance minister Fouad Siniora has been involved in the shaping of the country’s economic policies for the past 12 years as cabinet member and key right hand man of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Although he moved to the top post at Hariri-affiliated Banque Méditerranée at the beginning of 2005, from the day

Juggling debt wisely

The key to Lebanon’s short term economic future rests with its ability to get on a trajectory of reform and debt management. With the real economy bleeding and GDP expected to shrink this year, the importance of Lebanon’s debt management takes on a primary role, especially since gross public sector debt amounted to the equivalent

The economic relationship

In the current political furor, it must be remembered that the Lebanese and Syrian economies are and have been strongly interdependent – a situation that predates Syria’s military intervention in 1976 and will probably remain so in the short to medium term. Prior to former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination, the Lebanese economy was finally

Grace under fire

The Central Bank (BDL) has coped with great professionalism and efficiency with the resulting monetary and financial crisis, sparked by the Hariri assassination. Not only has it kept a low profile and worked diligently towards supporting the Lebanese pound, but it has also provided significant liquidity in support of local banks, while its significant foreign

Counting the losses

Rafik Hariri was an inevitable figure in Lebanese politics and economics. The man was greatly responsible for driving Lebanon towards the 21st century and gave the country (admittedly via a hefty debt) a world-class infrastructure, including a major airport, a much improved road network and telecommunication system, and a pristine city center. But most importantly,

Bridging the Gulf

Rafik Hariri’s catalogue of virtues was much trumpeted in the wake of his killing, but his most potent skill lay in his ability to initiate dialogue with key economic agents in the region. As The Independent’s Robert Fisk put it, he had become “Mr. Lebanon”, an oversized and overqualified salesman for Lebanon’s reconstruction. The relevance

Testing times for business

The Lebanese economy is not only wearing black, it is also awash with red and white, and will be for a while yet and it remains unclear just how long – weeks, months or longer – the disruption of Lebanon’s economic heartbeat will last. This cannot presently be assessed authoritatively in terms of economic impact

What goes down…

Over the past few months, there seems to have been excessive but not unusual focus by market commentators and, to some extent, mainstream Wall Street strategists, about the dollar’s direction. In Lebanon, a highly dollarized economy, the issue has also been on the forefront as many Lebanese gauge their wealth in dollar terms. Those who

Communications – The ongoing drama

Smiles returned to the Lebanese communications sector in 2004. The question is whether they were forced. Two existential dramas in the communications arena last year were carried over from 2003 and the years before: the quest to make the mobile and landline sectors more productive and create a stable environment for modern data communications. A