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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities February 2019

Lebanon Opportunities is a quarterly business magazine that covers: Finance, Real estate, Economy, and Local business. Lebanon Opportunities has tens of thousands of readers in Lebanon and across the globe. It is the prime local business magazine in Lebanon in terms of readership, advertising, and name-awareness. Lebanon Opportunities is written to a target of small business owners, entrepreneurs and middle management, as well as to Lebanese living abroad. It aims at bringing complex business issues in a simple manner understandable by readers who are not experts and whose English language is not the mother tongue.

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3 min
seeking a green light

The year has begun with the unveiling of an economic plan – which still needs to be debated and approved by the government, a debacle in the Eurobond market which was successfully reversed, and a larger-than-usual fiasco of the ‘Arab Economic and Social Development Summit’. As promised, this year will be difficult, and the new government will have its work cut out for it. If it only starts implementing the plans it has concocted, this year will become a turnaround. VISION 2025 CEDRE and McKinsey have become synonymous with the economic hope for the country. It is good news that there are plans of action and that there is on the table something other than daily politicking. We have dedicated a major share of this issue to the ‘Lebanon Economic Vision 2025’,…

1 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES All obligations, bonds, and deposits will be fully redeemed, with interest, at their due dates President Michel Aoun People are looking for deeds – not words Prime Minister Saad Hariri We are preparing to restructure public debt. Reducing public debt … is coming! Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of Finance One day later: There is no intention to restructure debt or touch the rights of holders of sovereign debt securities in any way Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of Finance Definitely no plan to restructure debt Raed Khoury, Minister of Economy and Trade The lira is under no risk. Rumors had no effect. The currency is stable and supported by numbers, not slogans. We have the ability to repay debts on their due dates without any deduction Riad Salameh, Governor of the Central Bank We are able to meet all 2019 obligations. What…

2 min
in good company

SKI SEASON OPENS EARLY Ski resorts are open for business after Storm Norma dumped fresh snow, raising hopes for a season that is significantly better than last year’s. The country’s ski resorts opened their slopes to the public on Dec. 31, and expect to remain open for the next three months. “We have one meter of snow so far, and this is enough to keep us open for three months,” said Nicole Wakim, Marketing Manager at Mzaar 2000, the company that owns Mzaar Ski Resort. Some 70,000 skiers visited Mzaar Ski Resort last year over a 53-day season that started mid-January. Its slopes rise from an altitude of 1,950 meters to 2,350 meters. Zaarour Club, whose ski slopes rise from 1,665 meters to 2,000 meters, was open for 30 days last…

4 min
money & banking

INBOUND E-MONEY TRANSFERS MUST BE PAID IN LIRA Electronic money transfers from abroad will be settled exclusively in lira from now on, according to an intermediate circular by the Central Bank (BDL). The circular does not restrict domestic transfers. The decision targets companies engaged in electronic cash transfers such as OMT, MoneyGram, and Western Union, said Riad Salameh, Governor of BDL. The circular does not apply to bank transfers. Salameh said that BDL’s move is in line with international practices and aims to combat money laundering. Marwan Mikhael, Head of Research at Blominvest Bank, said that when foreign currency transfers are converted into liras, the transaction will come under the control of BDL, reducing the risks of money laundering. Although electronic cash transfers represent a small portion of remittance inflows, the…

4 min
official business

BEIRUT NEW YEAR FIESTA RANKED TOP 10 WORLDWIDE National Geographic has ranked the Nejmeh Square festivities among the top ten New Year’s Eve parties round the world. More than 100,000 people attended the event that started at 4:30 pm and ended at 1:30 am, according to Beirut Mayor Jamal Itani. The Municipality of Beirut had appointed Beirut Events and Street Shows (BEASTS), an NGO, to organize the party for the second consecutive year. BEASTS contracted with ITS, an event management company, to organize the New Year’s Eve party. The celebration featured a 360-degree stage that enabled everyone to enjoy the performances. National Geographic wrote on its website that “Each New Year brings a promise of peace in the capital of formerly war-torn Lebanon. Thousands gather to watch the light show on…

6 min
matters of fact

NINE MILLION PASSENGERS AT AIRPORT The total number of passengers, including arrivals, departures, and transit at the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (BRHIA) went up by seven percent to reach 8.8 million in 2018 compared to 2017, according to statistics released by the airport. “The peak month was December, when we received on the 23rd and 29th around 30,000 passengers each,” said Tony Ghostine, Head of Economic Division at BRHIA. The average number of passengers that the airport receives per day is 17,000. Aircraft movement also went slightly up by three percent to 73,626 landings and take-offs. BRHIA is set for an emergency expansion starting this year, as it has surpassed its maximum capacity of six million passengers, and is being readied for 20 million in 2030. L0219-31 TWO MILLION TOURISTS Two million tourists…