A potentially important step toward a new social contract

As a democracy, Lebanon has a sovereign. This sovereign—which the constitution affirms to be the people of Lebanon—has, for the longest time, appeared remarkably unconcerned over a very specific dereliction of duty by its public officials. The dereliction in question was the government’s serial failure to produce a sane, credible, and timely budget, and the

StartechEUS to provide funds and mentorship

Fintech—financial technology— is a buzzword in the entrepreneurship sphere and a fast-growing segment of the financial services industry globally and in the MENA region. In 2018, the fintech sector saw $36.6 billion invested worldwide, a 329 percent increase over a five-year period, according to UK-based non-profit Innovative Finance. Lebanon is no exception—in 2015 the country

Attracting FDI to Lebanon

While Lebanon is seeking to attract significant foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in order to stimulate economic growth, the promotion of FDI is still lagging behind. Lebanon faces two main strategic marketing problems: an unclear positioning statement, and an ineffective promotion strategy.  It is all too easy for Lebanon’s political leaders to blame regional instability

The need to reform electronic money transfer regulations

All over the world, every day, millions of financial transactions take place at the press of a button. The words—and now the verbs—PayPal, TranferWise, and Venmo, are to payments what WhatsApp and Facebook are to messaging. Modern electronic money transfer (EMT) services have lowered transaction costs for individuals, facilitated business growth through e-commerce, and made

CMA takes the lead on new exchange

While the capital markets show on the Lebanese national financial and economic stage had been one that, for years, fit above all a characterization of spurned overtures and unconstitutional delays in the implementation of declared and legislated measures, such as the transformation of the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE), 2019 was kicking off with the boost.

Lebanese banking in times of scarcity and reforms

They have never seen the likes of it. Elias Alouf experienced a Lebanese childhood and adolescence. He is today general manager of one of Lebanon’s most history-rich banks, BSL, which has 155 years of existence under its belt, but in his living memory Alouf never witnessed such an intense cabinet debate as he did in

Banks have done a lot for Lebanon, they deserve our trust

Banks have offered much to Lebanon. They have financed the country’s public and private sector needs for the entirety of the post-conflict years. They stood throughout the 1990s with a people scarred by violence and economic trauma. Through the 2000s, they stayed at the side of a state that was under constant financial pressures. In

Best case scenario?

After missing self-imposed deadline after deadline, our cabinet has finally agreed on the terms of the reformist budget, passed to Parliament on May 30 for more bickering. Never mind that it is now June, and we still have no budget set for 2019. Nor that projected rate of reduction of the budget deficit seems more

‘Normalization’ with Israel is a flawed policy

Realities are becoming increasingly unreal in an ever more volatile region. Expectation of the Netanyahu government formally annexing Palestinian land—with the excuse that they are only confirming the reality of Israeli rule—means 2019 is going to be a dangerous one in the Middle East. At the heart of the current mess is a “normalization” policy

Lebanon’s new electricity plan adopted in the dark

The Council of Ministers approved a new electricity policy paper on April 8. Although this was a long-awaited reform, the Lebanese were expecting better governance and more transparency, especially in view of the commitments made at CEDRE. However, the government already seems to be falling short on its promises of reform, with no development of

Focusing on scale-ups in Lebanon

Scale-ups—startups with success and growth potential—can help economies more than other types of SMEs, and providing them with the right kind of support to succeed would take comparatively little effort but garner a large impact, according to a joint 2018 report by global consultancy firm Strategy& and entrepreneurship non-profit Endeavor, which was revealed at an

AUB aims to support local NGOs, at a cost

Civil society in Lebanon has a long history of activity, stepping in where the government has been unable to attend to the needs of its citizens, mobilizing into organizations aimed at providing these services. However, just how active the sector is has proven hard to measure, and thus enhance.  Even the exact number of registered

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