Author Archives: Thomas Schellen

Urban planning nightmares

Lebanese experts on urban planning and zoning contend that this communal discipline of real estate management exists as nothing more than a quasi-reality here. Sights from nearly every nook and cranny of the country corroborate the judgment. From north to south, communities overflow with building structures that defy common sense, communal planning and esthetics.

Ticket to ride

As weak demand in the Lebanese car market has taken its toll on dealer profitability, new opportunities emerged through several automotive brands that had been under-represented in Lebanon, or are new to the country. To address niches, distributors played their strengths, and some opted to mobilize synergies that they might not otherwise have utilized. In

Q&A: Samir Homsi

The Automobile Importers Association teams up all local car agents who hold distributor contracts with international auto manufacturers. Avidly working to represent the interests of these primary agents, the AIA emphasizes a unified presentation of official importer concerns to the media and Lebanese public. EXECUTIVE talked to the president of the AIA, Samir Homzi. E:

Banking on transparency

Lebanon’s ranking in the 2003 Corruption Perception Index of international watchdog organization, Transparency International (TI) was poor. Receiving a rating of 3.0 on a scale ranging from 0 (totally rotten) to 10 (impeccably clean), Lebanon ranked 78th for perceived levels of corruption in 133 countries. However, it did rank significantly higher than the dirty dozen

Driving costs

Driving your car in Lebanon has never been so expensive. Neither has the government swallowed a more substantive share of the transportation budget from private households. Since the introduction of value-added tax in February 2002, the government’s revenue participation has reached and exceeded 50% on the amount a consumer spends on the purchase of a

Long road ahead

We are living in a brave new auto world. Still fairly early into the automobile’s second century, fuel economy and safety features of modern cars have reached levels that make automotive technology appear close to the point of quasi-perfection, where further improvements, short of reinventing the wheel, seem hardly worth the additional effort. A look

Corruption’s hefty price tag

In the academic analysis of economics, corruption is a clear and present danger. “Efficient allocation of resources is the key to the capitalist system,” said Karim Salameh, managing director at Saradar Investment House and member of a new generation of Lebanese economists. “In the textbook answer, corruption cripples because it diverts resources away from their

A growing epidemic

When World Bank President James Wolfensohn opened the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund last month in Dubai, he said the world was out of balance, with one sixth of the global population controlling 80% of global GDP and the divide between rich and poor nations ever increasing. The head of

New dawn of the internet age

Since the dawn of the personal computer, Lebanon has been on the information technology map. Now as the age of the internet and new economy create business opportunities and bring international ICT companies to Beirut, the potential is there for Lebanon to establish itself as a Levantine hub. Executive checked how four Lebanese companies are

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