Author Archives: Executive Editors

Raise your glass

Raise your glass

Reading Time: 3 minutes Arak is in a bad state. Although it was the drink of choice for many Lebanese up until the Civil War, tough competition from whiskey and other spirits has driven it from all but a few traditional settings. And don’t even mention trying to penetrate the youth market. Indeed, as the eyes of both the

Open the floor

Reading Time: 3 minutes Lebanon’s politicians are squandering a golden opportunity. Now that the close of the first offshore oil and gas licensing round has been indefinitely postponed, the country once again has a chance for a real national debate about the future of this nascent sector and how to integrate it into the economy. Potential hydrocarbon resources would

Non-evasive action

Reading Time: 3 minutes Lebanon’s authorities have some explaining to do. For reasons no one has ever explained, companies with no qualifications have been allowed to participate in Lebanon’s first offshore licensing round, provided they find a qualified partner. We don’t know who made the decision. Cabinet approved the decree allowing for it in February 2013. According to the

Laying the foundation

Reading Time: 2 minutes It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Take Lebanon’s banking sector: with assets of nearly 400 percent of GDP, it is both the backbone of the economy and the preferred financier of state debt. But unfortunately, it also may be holding the rest of the country’s financial sector back by smothering

Heads in the sand

Reading Time: 3 minutes The frustration and humiliation are just too much. Daily trips to the roof to check water levels, often followed by a round of phone calls begging private water delivery drivers to spare 1,000 liters, have been the norm for months now for many Lebanese. That we must pay twice for a basic service the state

Fire alarm

Speak up

Reading Time: 3 minutes Around this time last year, business leaders representing the Economic Committees, a collection of representatives of the nation’s private sector companies, met with government officials to sound the alarm bells over a tanking economy. Their contention then was that leading economic indicators suggested the economy was in terrible shape, going so far as saying the

Protect the past, plan for the future

Reading Time: 3 minutes The World Cup is arguably the most viewed sporting spectacle and social event worldwide. So when Jennifer Lopez opened this year’s games dressed by Lebanese designer Charbel Zoe and accessorized by Lebanese jeweler Yeprem, it proved that Lebanon’s luxury designers compete at the pinnacle of their professions. Even before that, the likes of Elie Saab

Please, steal our money

Reading Time: 4 minutes Although it’s been nearly 18 months since Lebanon’s first licensing round for oil and gas exploration was launched, its closing date has been postponed four times — each time pushing back exploration and potential exploitation of the coveted resources. But despite the numerous opportunities afforded by these delays, the country’s nongovernmental organizations have barely feigned

While Rome burns

Reading Time: 3 minutes A good way to judge the efficacy of a proposed solution is to ask how, if implemented, it would alter the outcome of a situation. By this metric, the Ministry of Energy and Water’s (MoEW) proposed solution to Lebanon’s water shortage fails miserably. The plan roughly amounts to the following: households should use less water

Banks’ new dilemma

Reading Time: 3 minutes For years, big Lebanese banks have operated under a cushy deal: finance government debt, and be rewarded with a handsome profit. While this arrangement has been arguably necessary, it has also led to an unwarranted level of risk aversion and capital hoarding in the sector — notably harming the development of business startups, who are