Author Archives: Sami Halabi

Pipe dreams

Pipe dreams

Reading Time: 4 minutes   Politics and economics have always had an abusive relationship in Lebanon, with the latter habitually falling victim to the former’s unpredictable behavior. Like any odd couple, there are times when they get along, if only to fall back into a vicious cycle that consumes them both. As 2010 began there was optimism in the

Q&A with Raya Hassan

Reading Time: 8 minutes   Raya Hassan is Lebanon’s finance minister. Saddled with a debt  around one-and-a-half times the size of the country’s economic output, a gaping deficit and a lack of infrastructure, she is tasked with making a method out of the madness. In an exclusive interview Hassan sat down with Executive to discuss everything from her ministry’s

Less water every day

Reading Time: 4 minutes   Pierre may be covered in grease, but he is a happy man. Since he joined the family business five years ago, this has been his best year to date. “Actually, it’s been one of the best years ever,” he says. Pierre and his family are in the water transport business, and through the summer

The Lebanese art of distraction

Reading Time: 3 minutes   For several excruciating months the Lebanese press has been subjecting us all to a whirlwind of speculation over the prospect that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will issue an indictment accusing, in one way or another, Hezbollah of being involved in the 2005 killing of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri and many others.

2010 MENA World Economic Forum

Reading Time: 5 minutes   From October 26 to 28 leaders and decision makers from around the Middle East and North Africa will descend on Marrakech for the 2010 World Economic Forum (WEF) on the MENA. The theme of the conference is “Purpose, Resilience and Prosperity.” To get an idea of what will be on the agenda; Executive had

Propping up the State

Reading Time: 10 minutes During the civil war, when the residents of Lebanon would give directions, they could always rely on one landmark from which to guide visitors to their homes — the mountain of garbage that had built up in each neighborhood over the years of violence and absence of a functioning state. Today those mountains may be

Profits over principles

Reading Time: 4 minutes   Summer in the Middle East is typically a time when life slows down;  business deals are put off until everyone has finished their vacations and the weather has cooled off. So in August when Credit Suisse issued a statement that it was embarking on a $1 billion-plus fund “with a small group of Credit

A new venture for capital

Reading Time: 6 minutes When it comes to political stability, you either drink the Kool-Aid or you don’t,” says Tarek Sadi, managing partner of Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), using an American adage for wholeheartedly believing in something, as he sips a Nespresso in his office overlooking Martyr’s square. “We drank the Kool-Aid and we are investing in it,”

A new alliance?

Reading Time: 5 minutes   The battle over privatization in Lebanon has trodden the same well-worn path for decades; the left decrys the idea as a nepotistic sell out and the right lauds the concept as the only way to reform the country’s decrepit public services. But, for now, the two sides may have found a compromise in the

Derision of democracy

Reading Time: 3 minutes When things go wrong, progressive types normally try to fix them. But in Lebanon, this simple logic is rarely followed; more often than not we go along with the situation so as not to stir up tension, in the hopes that somewhere down the line things will fix themselves. But our problems don’t get fixed