Leaders articles

Just go

Just go

When the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon was first created in 1994, hope for the economy to flourish was not such a wild concept. Lebanon was being rebuilt after the war. Times were changing. There was enthusiasm for a reconstructed Lebanon with shining new infrastructure. IDAL was to be one of the institutions spearheading the

End the boys’ club

The message of success (see “In praise of chaos“) bears repeating: as Executive surveyed the offices, workshops and hangouts of ambitious young companies over the past two months, we found the Lebanese entrepreneurship ecosystem in 2014 to be performing far beyond the assumptions of defeatists, and even our own optimistic expectations. But while this ecosystem

In praise of chaos

What happens when you combine a few crazy startups, visionary ideas and some equally crazy support institutions? In a word, magic. In a country where deep sectarian divisions, a moribund economy, poor security, weak institutions and staggering debt have produced a chorus of naysayers, several plucky startups are showing us how to build a successful

The root of good

The international community’s response to the Syrian crisis is growing even more shameful with the passage of time. Since Syria’s war began in 2011, governments in the developed world have very obviously put political and military considerations before humanitarian concerns. Not surprisingly, the consequences have been disastrous for millions of Syrians — both refugees and

Raise your glass

Arak is in a bad state. Although it was the drink of choice for many Lebanese up until the Civil War, tough competition from whiskey and other spirits has driven it from all but a few traditional settings. And don’t even mention trying to penetrate the youth market. Indeed, as the eyes of both the

Open the floor

Lebanon’s politicians are squandering a golden opportunity. Now that the close of the first offshore oil and gas licensing round has been indefinitely postponed, the country once again has a chance for a real national debate about the future of this nascent sector and how to integrate it into the economy. Potential hydrocarbon resources would

Non-evasive action

Lebanon’s authorities have some explaining to do. For reasons no one has ever explained, companies with no qualifications have been allowed to participate in Lebanon’s first offshore licensing round, provided they find a qualified partner. We don’t know who made the decision. Cabinet approved the decree allowing for it in February 2013. According to the

Laying the foundation

It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Take Lebanon’s banking sector: with assets of nearly 400 percent of GDP, it is both the backbone of the economy and the preferred financier of state debt. But unfortunately, it also may be holding the rest of the country’s financial sector back by smothering

Heads in the sand

The frustration and humiliation are just too much. Daily trips to the roof to check water levels, often followed by a round of phone calls begging private water delivery drivers to spare 1,000 liters, have been the norm for months now for many Lebanese. That we must pay twice for a basic service the state

Fire alarm

Speak up

Around this time last year, business leaders representing the Economic Committees, a collection of representatives of the nation’s private sector companies, met with government officials to sound the alarm bells over a tanking economy. Their contention then was that leading economic indicators suggested the economy was in terrible shape, going so far as saying the