Comment articles

Charting a path

Charting a path

Decades of research has shown that affordable housing is a cornerstone of urban livability and wellbeing. Beyond providing shelter, housing is a platform for improving health, education, economic activity and social stability. Affordable, good quality and stable housing is often associated with less stress and better overall health. Similarly, satisfactory housing can improve school performance

A hellish limbo, a darker future

There’s nothing like entrepreneurial energy — if it’s there, you feel it as soon as you walk in the room. That’s what I felt when I recently addressed the Start Up Lebanon conference in New York. The room was buzzing with creative talent — our talent — ready to storm the American startup scene. Why were

Uncrossing wires

Lebanon’s electricity sector faces severe difficulties on multiple levels, making it an unsustainable burden on the economy in general and the state budget in particular. Problems extend across all stages of the business process, from production to distribution, even billing and collection, despite the latter having been franchised out to private companies. Promising proposals — including

Surviving a slow market

Without a radical improvement in the political and security climates, Lebanon’s real estate market is unlikely to pick up. The market thus continues to stagnate as the economic, political and security situations continue to deteriorate. The picture may look gloomy, but it is not desperate. Demand may have slowed but it exists, with professional developers

2014: Deep analysis

Any analysis of Lebanese banking performance in terms of activity has to be read in conjunction with the operating environment in the region and the recent expansion of Lebanese banks in regional markets. Real GDP growth, as estimated by the IMF, stood at 2.4 percent for the MENA region in 2014, while Lebanon registered 2.0

Fashion retailing in Hamra

The plethora of signs advertising ‘up to 70%’ discounts illustrates the sorry state of most clothing stores in Hamra. Gone are the rich tourists from the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and Egypt with a desire to stock up on the latest fashions in the area’s crowded streets and alleyways. With the number of foreign visitors very

Wanted: risk takers

Our financial system needs to wake up. Once the dynamic driver of our nation’s economy, it’s long slumbered at the wheel, abandoning industry and entrepreneurial activity in favor of cozy deals on government debt. The result? Stagnant industry, few exports, a huge current account deficit and a morbidly high brain drain as our young people

Feeling the heat

The sight was electrifying: a solar powered flying machine ascended into the desert morning in order to probe a new frontier for ecology and sustainability. Venturing far beyond the conventional concept of an airplane, Solar Impulse II is a science adventure to test and develop new practical technologies that can deal with the urgent, global

Our national malady

We need our heads checked. Honestly, I think we Lebanese are suffering from what can only be described as Stockholm Syndrome. Why is it that people are suddenly so in love with our ministers? What exactly is Wael Abou Faour doing? “He’s making sure our food is safe to eat and pushing through healthcare reforms,”

How to entice right

One of the greatest challenges facing the Middle East is also one of the most underappreciated: how to attract and retain human capital. This is a real impediment to the strategic plans of some Middle East countries, particularly those in the GCC. They are making the transition away from resource based economies to knowledge based