Economics & Policy articles

Time is ripe for tough reform

Time is ripe for tough reform

The assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri on Valentine’s Day 2005, highlighted Lebanon’s economic vulnerability to sudden political and security events, as reflected in the significant slow down in economic activity; the massive decrease in GDP growth; and the rise of the proportion of public debt to government revenues. In the last quarter of

Getting the economy back on track

Mira Merhi Senior economist, ministry of economy and trade E Which sectors of the economy were most affected by the 2005 crisis? How is trade faring, given current relations with Syria? What are the government’s most immediate economic recovery plans? How does it plan to create growth? In 2005, the Lebanese economy witnessed a slowdown

Lebanon’s key industries splutter along

Before the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, Lebanon’s industrialists were a fairly disgruntled lot. Okay, exports were 25% up on the previous year, but energy and communications costs remained astronomically high because of spiraling oil prices and government unresponsiveness or disinterestedness; state bureaucracy was suffocating; the economy was stagnant; and corruption was rampant.

Mohamed shabib – General manager, MTC Touch

Executive talks to Mohamed Shabib, general manager of MTC Touch, one of the two cellular phone management companies, on the state and development of Lebanon’s mobile telecom sector. E Following a year of challenges, do you see the Lebanese telecommunications industry as being in a better or worse position today than 12 months ago? We

Telecom reforms get jammed in the system

Another year has passed, yet it seems that time is at a standstill for the Lebanese telecom industry. To date, there has been no privatization, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is yet to appear, as is a third mobile operator, broadband internet access, and the reduction in call costs. It even seems that due to

Telecom sector hopes to pick up in 2006

Kamal Shehadi Managing director of Connexus Consulting E Now that the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) is being put on track with the search for a capable team, how long do you expect it to take until the agency can be fully operational and what should its first actions be? Secondly, is it possible to draw

Andy Kemp talks oil

    Levant Oil, incorporated in Lebanon, has been trading, importing and storing oil derivatives since it opened a storage terminal in Jiyeh in 2001. This year, the company is launching a chain of “LEO” gas stations across Lebanon. The Levant Oil Group comprises three companies: Levant Oil International, which started up in February 2005,

Open for trading: The DIFX takes off

Since the fateful events of 9/11 in New York, the phenomenon of investment repatriation by Gulf Arabs has accelerated significantly. Indeed, since 2002, Saudi investors are believed to have withdrawn more than $300 billion of investments from the US, while other Gulf countries are also said to have reeled-in roughly the same amount, if not

Protecting the integrity of Banks

The UN investigation into the assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri has impacted the financial scene. The work of German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis and his team to uncover suspects behind the murder created a stir when a request for banking secrecy laws to be lifted from the accounts of certain individuals key to the enquiry

What Lebanon can Learn from the Turkish Experience

The end game for developing countries, in this day and age, is the ability to attract and maintain capital investment. The catalyst to this inflow is, broadly speaking, a mix of infrastructure rehabilitation and reform. There are numerous trajectories in the developed world, but in many instances reform is slow, and the corollary of sustainable