Leaders articles

Lebanon’s new government: Get to work, gents (and lady)

Reading Time: 3 minutes Having spent the best part of a year trying to form a government, when the new Prime Minister Tammam Salam visited President Michel Sleiman in his Baabda Palace to announce the new Cabinet, he may have been feeling more pressure than excitement. The challenges facing the country are greater than at any time since the

Entrepreneurship: Beware a bubble

Reading Time: 2 minutes Last August, after much speculation Banque du Liban – Lebanon’s central bank – released Circular 331. The $400 million plan aimed at encouraging the country’s start-up sector by guaranteeing 75 percent of commercial banks’ investments in fledgling companies. The long-term aim was to boost Lebanon’s ‘knowledge economy’. Many in the startup world greeted it with

Risky business

Reading Time: 2 minutes No matter what some might say, the Beirut Stock Exchange is economically insignificant. Few companies are listed, with real estate giant Solidere and a handful of banks taking up the largest share of the market, and there has not been a new listing since the turn of the century. This sad state of affairs is

Need for transparency in $3 billion LAF grant

Reading Time: 2 minutes Saudi Arabia’s pledge to support the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to the tune of $3 billion over the next five years should be cautiously welcomed. The army is one of the few genuinely cross-sectarian bodies in this divided country and enjoys widespread support. In 2013 a study by the Norwegian research company FAFO found that

Corporate responsibility is everyone’s duty

Reading Time: 2 minutes It is not easy these days to find companies that are expanding in Lebanon. Uncertainty rules the economic climate and the only thing safely said about this year’s business prospects is that there are so many variables that macroeconomic forecasts are even shakier than in ‘normal’ times. But there are corporate examples for optimism —

Time for a government

Reading Time: 2 minutes For the past 10 months, Lebanon has been without a government. The caretaker cabinet has proved completely incapable of responding to the country’s two major ongoing challenges — the influx of 900,000 Syrian refugees fleeing their country’s civil war and a striking downturn in security conditions. Since Christmas alone, Lebanon has seen four car bombs.