Author Archives: Matt Nash

Shark hunt

Shark hunt

Reading Time: 7 minutes Playtime is over. Nearly one year after calling for unregulated lenders to step out of the shadows, Banque du Liban (BDL), Lebanon’s central bank, imposed new restrictions and reporting requirements on what are locally known as comptoir creditors. Until January, articles 183 and 184 of the 1963 Code of Money and Credit – Lebanon’s banking

Dissecting a waste empire

Reading Time: 9 minutes While everyone in Lebanon — from taxi drivers to elected officials — “knows” the country’s largest waste manager is as dirty as the trash it collects, when pressed for proof, they have little to offer. Indeed, even questioning the “fact” that Sukleen — and, by extension, parent company Averda — is corrupt will likely get

Data deficiency syndrome

Reading Time: 6 minutes Incomplete as they are, the numbers look bad for Lebanon’s real estate sector in 2015. Construction permits are down. The number of transactions is down. Cement deliveries are down. Full-year stats were not available at time of writing, but year-on-year comparisons of the most recent data point to a deepening slump after a boom phase

Plan of (in)action

Reading Time: 3 minutes If a five-year plan to modernize Lebanon’s telecommunications infrastructure announced in July is being implemented, the Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT) isn’t talking about it. There’s no progress report on the website. The MoT hasn’t publicly announced tenders for the various projects needed for an upgrade. And the ministry’s reply to repeated interview requests on the

An unquantifiable tragedy

Reading Time: 6 minutes In January 2015, Lebanon put new visa rules in place for Syrians entering the country with an aim of stemming the flow of refugees crossing the border. In May, the government ordered the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to stop registering new refugees. As a result, the total number of

A rubbish decision

Reading Time: 3 minutes Lebanon has never gotten nation-wide waste management right. In 1971 the government hired a local consultant to help write a plan for treating and disposing of the country’s waste, according to the consultant’s website. While the company declined an interview request, the existence of hundreds of open dumps around the country attest to the fact

BDL plays government

Reading Time: 3 minutes Banque du Liban (BDL), Lebanon’s central bank, makes a curious claim on its website. Under “Monetary Overview” in the “About Us” section, the bank says that, beginning in 2013, it “resorted to unconventional monetary policy tools to stimulate internal demand and sustain the country’s growth and job creation potential.” Here the bank is referring to

The 411 on 331

Reading Time: 8 minutes The torrent of “free” money that Banque du Liban (BDL) Circular 331 was expected to release is still but a trickle. Approved by Lebanon’s central bank in August 2013, the circular allows banks to invest up to three percent of their tier 1 capital in startup companies contributing to the so-called “knowledge economy” or venture

Industrial recycling

Reading Time: 5 minutes For all the talk of Minister of Agriculture Akram Chehayeb’s waste management plan including robust recycling initiatives, it actually lets municipalities decide how to treat and dispose of their waste with few guidelines and no fixed quotas. That is to say, there is no clear picture of what recycling will look like in Lebanon should

Coming Sukleen

Reading Time: 5 minutes After protests outside their Lebanon plant and activist allegations of corruption, the CEO of Averda gives his first ever interview to a media organization. Little known by name in Lebanon, Averda is a waste management company founded in 1993 by Lebanese engineer Maysarah Sukkar. It is the parent company of Sukleen and Sukomi. Maysarah’s son,