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Guerilla entrepreneurship

Young entrepreneurs are stepping in with vigor where politicians are failing

by Yasser Akkaoui

That our politicians got us into an absolutely avoidable waste crisis they have been unable to extricate us from for over three months is simply embarrassing. It’s not about garbage any more. It’s about turning Lebanon into a distressed asset.It has become obvious that our institutions, which have been running on an ad hoc basis for 25 years now, are headed for a complete meltdown. The state is not successfully providing even one basic service. Our politicians have made this country a joke, and today it looks like things will only get worse.

Legislative paralysis is putting us at risk of losing much-needed loans for development projects from the World Bank. If we allow this to happen, we’re taking a potentially devastating risk. Other international institutions and past partners could very well reconsider financial facilities earmarked for Lebanon, triggering an isolation of our financial system. Once our uncooperativeness unplugs us from the international system, expect scavengers to impose their rule under the pretext of assistance. Sound familiar?

We can either remember how those who promised Lebanon help in the 1980s only bled us dry, and learn from that experience or keep living in denial, insisting our ever slowing economic pulse is still proof of life until we return to being simply a market for the East, deprived of any ambition or ability to produce. If history does repeat itself, we will have only ourselves to blame. We’ve invested nearly nothing to make this country more productive and are watching the traditional engines of our economy run out of gas while insisting we can make it just a few more kilometers before taking action.

Meanwhile, we have a guerilla army of well educated, creative and innovative individuals able to generate wealth and value in unconventional ways, making markets around the globe a click away. This small, dedicated and focused group has been working hard with few resources for too long. Two years ago, the central bank stepped in with support, and a more vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem is emerging. Happily, they’re our last link to the productive global economy.   

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Yasser Akkaoui

Yasser Akkaoui is Executive's editor-in-chief.

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