Never has the Lebanese entrepreneurial spirit been so successful in confronting adversity. Not since the freewheeling days of the civil war has it risen to the challenge of leading the way in its journey from underdeveloped economy into emerging market and its role as the region’s creative hub, in a time of raging uncertainty, both at home and abroad.
In Lebanon, a complete absence of public policy for economic growth, coupled with the eroding effects of self-interest by those who claim to serve the national good, has contrived to sabotage the natural instincts of free enterprise, while from Ramallah to Falluja, the region continues to bubble and spit on the region’s hotplate. Where economic freedom is either snuffed out by the specter of terror or squeezed by those who refuse to embrace sound economic principals, the Lebanese entrepreneur survives and thrives.
Lebanese industry should be out for the count. Faced with an indifferent government and the region’s highest fuel bill, it not only lives on but, in 2004, recorded increased exports. The banking sector continues to demonstrate its vision by expanding beyond its borders, while Lebanese capital markets have also shown they can punch above their weight. Then there is tourism, touted as the cornerstone of Lebanon’s future, has been wholly driven by the private sector. The Lebanese property developer has also been busy, accepting and meeting the challenge of increased demand for luxury living and new retail developments. It is amazing that such growth can occur in such a seemingly barren economic landscape. Imagine what could be done in a more transparent and competitive environment.
In this annual issue, EXECUTIVE is, more than ever before, fulfilling its editorial mission by reporting the local, regional and international achievements of corporate Lebanon across all sectors, giving it the importance it deserves. EXECUTIVE has proved that it is the true voice of corporate Lebanon by bringing together in this remarkable publication the ideas, thoughts and opinions of over 50 experts and insiders. Their collaboration is a mark of mutual respect and an affirmation of the partnership that EXECUTIVE has fostered over the years. The result is an unprecedented, objective and genuine portrait of the forces that drive the engines of our economy.
EXECUTIVE salutes Lebanese industry, Lebanese business and Lebanese businesspeople; they have shown that the free entrepreneurial mind is bigger than ignorance and parochial dogma.