Author Archives: Thomas Schellen

An untraveled road

An untraveled road

With Lebanon’s parliamentary elections having recently provoked so much controversy for reasons of sectarian representation, little attention has been devoted to how the new Parliament might address urgent economic issues, security, corruption, as well as long-dormant issues directly or indirectly related to development, such as administrative decentralization and a new election law. A preliminary assessment

Pierre Achkar

Pierre Achkar has his hands full. As manager of the three-and-a-half-year-old, 112-room Monroe Hotel, ravaged by the explosion that killed former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, he has been overseeing the hotel’s renovation, refurbishment and reopening. Wearing his hat as the head of the Lebanese Hotel Owners’ Association he must direct efforts to minimize overall hotel

Talking Economics

There could not be a greater difference of mandates for two successive governments in any country’s history. The current cabinet of Prime Minister Najib Mikati has been charged with terminating a protracted phase of managing Lebanon under a mixed set of priorities, wrapping up the past and handling one single, existentially important practical task: fair

Heading back to the books

Like all other fields of activity, the pursuit of knowledge in Lebanon has suffered under the turbulences of spring 2005. A Beirut trade show on education and professional training options had to be cancelled in February and attendance at continued education programs dropped. But providers say that interest is back and programs are running at

Testing times for business

The Lebanese economy is not only wearing black, it is also awash with red and white, and will be for a while yet and it remains unclear just how long – weeks, months or longer – the disruption of Lebanon’s economic heartbeat will last. This cannot presently be assessed authoritatively in terms of economic impact

Insurers reassured by more visibility

For the Lebanese insurance industry, 2004 was a year of measured improvement accentuated by several highpoints. Visibility and transparency, regional interaction and regional opportunities, the legislative framework, and a healthier solution for social security constituted the portfolio of notable developments or prospects for the nation’s insurance companies. These matters of domestic importance were embedded in

Visitors to Lebanon, what do they want?

Lebanon’s inbound tourism in 2004 kept or exceeded virtually every promise and expectation. After ten months of the year, the ministry of tourism could announce that over 1.12 million visitors had arrived in the country, reaffirming mid-year expectations that this would be the best figures in 30 years and a stepping stone towards future growth.

Communications – The ongoing drama

Smiles returned to the Lebanese communications sector in 2004. The question is whether they were forced. Two existential dramas in the communications arena last year were carried over from 2003 and the years before: the quest to make the mobile and landline sectors more productive and create a stable environment for modern data communications. A

FNB reaches for the top

Provided that their development of assets and deposits continues along the lines of the first nine months, Lebanon’s First National Bank is set to achieve growth in the magnitude of 20% to 25% this year – strengthening its claim to be one of the fastest advancers in Lebanon’s banking industry at the beginning of the

Taking retail to the next level

ADMIC, operator of the Monoprix and BHV stores in Lebanon, are adding to their retail stable. The company has begun its PR and marketing campaign for the 200,000 square meter City Mall, due to open at the northern gateway to metropolitan Beirut in three stages between December 2005 and the end of 2006. ADMIC chairman