Economics & Policy articles

Counting the losses

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

Telecom Voices – Don’t call us…?

Ghazi Yussuf: Head of the Higher Privatization Council up until the resignation of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri E: Is there a realistic chance for the privatization of cellular assets in 2005? What, in your opinion, are the best and worst case scenarios for the development of the cellular sector in the coming year? There is

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

Q&A: Jacques Sarraf

E: The Malia Group reached a milestone with 50 years of industrial production of cosmetics. Where were the challenges you encountered in building an enterprise in the Lebanese environment? Within 50 years, we have undergone three different ages as a group: from 1950 until 1975, from 1975 until 1990, from 1990 until 2004. Each phase

Industry Voices – Light at end of tunnel?

Ramzi Ghosn: Proprietor, Massaya Winery E: Our industry has been forced to seek out new and sustainable export markets and been moderately successful. How can other sectors within the manufacturing or agro-industry replicate this success? To be successful you need a comparative advantage. In the local wine industry, our comparative advantage is the fact that

Q&A:Ineke Botter

Running a mobile telecommunications network in Lebanon has in recent years presented itself as profound challenge, not only in terms of achieving operational excellence but also as quest demanding ultimate skills in diplomacy. With new management contracts for the mobile sector in place since mid 2003, EXECUTIVE ventured into the challenging exercise of asking what

Economy Voices – Reform Horoscope

Joey Ghaleb: Economist at the ministry of economy and trade E: How could the Lebanese Government give new impulses to the economy through public spending in 2005? Although “Paris II” may be long forgotten, the Lebanese must keep reminding themselves that soothing political sound bites do not pay the bill. Major structural reforms do and

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