This document—Economic Roadmap 3.0—is the most definitive Roadmap yet in Executive Magazine’s ongoing quest for providing a working platform for advancing the Lebanese economy. Building on a first version published in the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Executive, and a second version published with an additional 261 measures and three entirely new national priorities in February 2019, Executive presents this third iteration at the end of 2019 in the hope that its reflection of fourth-quarter developments will accelerate the discussions seen in Lebanon after October 17 and elevate the economic discussion to one that can generate a new and healthy productive economy. As was the pattern from the beginning, we took a participatory approach in deliberations of Economic Roadmap 3.0—this time by inviting both online recommendations and querying around 50 diverse and qualified individuals in a series of six roundtables conducted in November 2019 (See intro to roundtables). The stakeholders at these tables ranged from representatives of civil society and persons with personal commitment to Lebanon’s civil thawra (revolution), to economists, industrialists, entrepreneurs, and academics.
As in the two previous Roadmap iterations, there was little or no disagreement on the top priority for moving Lebanon to safe economic ground in the face of a financial liquidity and confidence crisis that erupted from September 2019 in parallel to the October protests. However, while many needs of the Lebanese economy had not been met since we published Roadmap 2.0, priorities were added especially in the Build and Reform pillar as well as in the Combat pillar, specifically in Combat Corruption. The Build and Reform pillar addresses agenda priorities in the areas of fiscal policy, capacity building, state institutions, judicial reform, and regulatory frameworks. Moreover, while the list of pillars and agenda priorities in Roadmap 3.0 is the same as in iteration 2.0, we note that the agenda items discussed at the November roundtables (agenda priorities 1-6, 8, 11-13, and 15-18) saw more additions, new emphases, and modifications than the other five agenda priorities, but want to emphasize that the shifting toward urgent issues and short-term economic survival priorities does not detract from the importance of the remaining components in the Economic Roadmap. The fundamental question over the best economic system for Lebanon is still open but one dichotomy, a line of deceptive argumentation used throughout past periods of governmental vacuums in Lebanon and into the period after the resignation of the Hariri government at the end of October, has been revealed as fake news. This is the argumentation from some political quarters that addressing the economy is more important than adhering to the will of the people, as well as the view of some economic protagonists that political health will follow upon a vigorous private sector performance. In truth, as the last months of 2019 have proven, Lebanon needs a government that implements the will of the people and an economy that serves them. Ultimately, Lebanon has to decide what kind of system it wants to implement and move forward collectively. While the country seeking to rebalance state and society in a cogent new system, Executive is committed to contribute to this vital search by continually striving for a definitive, collaborative, and passion-empowered Economic Roadmap.