Comment articles

Lebanon’s doppelgänger

Lebanon’s doppelgänger

Reading Time: 3 minutes Imagine a country with a mix of ancient and modern cultures and religions, and 6000 years of history. Imagine a country where women and men are equally educated, and where technology and innovation combine. Imagine a country with some of the highest Human Development Indicators (HDI) in the region but with a labor potential that

It stinks

Reading Time: 2 minutes Driving home to Verdun after dinner in Badaro in late July, I thought I’d somehow slipped back in time to the 1980s. I looked down at my steering wheel. I was not in a DeLorean, so it wasn’t time travel. But it sure felt like a war zone. The streetlights were out, but the roads

Combating a global scourge

Reading Time: 7 minutes Child labor afflicts over 160 million children worldwide, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO) — making it one of the most pressing human rights issues globally. Fortunately, the response of the international community to the phenomenon has been immense. The 96 year old ILO first addressed the problem with the adoption of the Minimum

A need to even the playing field

Reading Time: 6 minutes Recently, CEOs of high growth companies were asked by Inc. magazine to pick their most admired entrepreneur. It turned out that the majority opted for Elon Musk (founder and CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX), Richard Branson (founder of the Virgin Group), Mark Cuban (known to the larger public via the show ‘Shark Tank’; he

Schizophrenic policymaking

Reading Time: < 1 minute When the economy slows, unemployment rises and consumption slumps, smart policymakers blow the dust off their Keynesian economics books and try to figure out which amount of government expenditure coupled with tax cuts would make optimal capital available to stimulate a prosperous cycle. Meanwhile central bankers decrease interest rates to make sure that this same

Charting a path

Reading Time: 9 minutes Decades of research has shown that affordable housing is a cornerstone of urban livability and wellbeing. Beyond providing shelter, housing is a platform for improving health, education, economic activity and social stability. Affordable, good quality and stable housing is often associated with less stress and better overall health. Similarly, satisfactory housing can improve school performance

A hellish limbo, a darker future

Reading Time: 2 minutes There’s nothing like entrepreneurial energy — if it’s there, you feel it as soon as you walk in the room. That’s what I felt when I recently addressed the Start Up Lebanon conference in New York. The room was buzzing with creative talent — our talent — ready to storm the American startup scene. Why were

Uncrossing wires

Reading Time: 5 minutes Lebanon’s electricity sector faces severe difficulties on multiple levels, making it an unsustainable burden on the economy in general and the state budget in particular. Problems extend across all stages of the business process, from production to distribution, even billing and collection, despite the latter having been franchised out to private companies. Promising proposals — including

Surviving a slow market

Reading Time: 3 minutes Without a radical improvement in the political and security climates, Lebanon’s real estate market is unlikely to pick up. The market thus continues to stagnate as the economic, political and security situations continue to deteriorate. The picture may look gloomy, but it is not desperate. Demand may have slowed but it exists, with professional developers

2014: Deep analysis

Reading Time: 5 minutes Any analysis of Lebanese banking performance in terms of activity has to be read in conjunction with the operating environment in the region and the recent expansion of Lebanese banks in regional markets. Real GDP growth, as estimated by the IMF, stood at 2.4 percent for the MENA region in 2014, while Lebanon registered 2.0