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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities June 2017

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
view from the abyss

Negotiations around the parliamentary election law are the current show-stopper. All eyes are following this or that leader’s newest position flip. I wonder why so many continue to be fans of this sport – when the final score is always well known in advance. The same faces will be back in full force, governing by consensus. This means at the slowest possible pace, as gridlock will overwhelm every agenda. No matter what law is finally adopted, corruption is here to stay. Economic development will continue, but at a snail’s pace. GROWTH Just as in politics, it has become useless to repeat that our economy is growing (page 31). Evidence is being discarded, as no one wants to believe it. The sickening political scenes have succeeded in totally diverting attention from what is…

1 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES The economy is improving President Michel Aoun Emigration is an emotional tax paid by our families ever since we became a country that exports its people instead of its products President Michel Aoun The ‘floating-wallets’ electricity vessels are surely suspect Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri Tripoli needs decisions, not slogans Prime Minister Saad Hariri Maintaining fiscal stability is a dance with wolves Riad Salameh, Governor of the Central Bank The floating electricity vessels are not saving money Mohamed Kabbara, Minister of Labor No one cares about the eventual new U.S. sanctions Marwan Hamadeh, Minister of Education Around 700 factories have closed because of the refugee crisis Huseein Hajj Hassan, Minister of industry Administrations and municipalities: Wake up! Gibran Bassil, Minister of Foreign Affairs We are looking for material and intangible solutions for these faltering media to enable them to survive and persevere Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of Finance There will…

5 min
economic trends

It is important to take a long-term view of global economic trends that looks beyond the short-term ups and downs of the economic and political cycle. To the extent that events such as Brexit and the election of President Trump point to deeper structural shifts, such as the backlash against globalization, immigration, and the rise of inequality, all of which present short-to medium-term challenges for policy makers to boost education and training and to address unfairness through well-targeted fiscal policies. However, such shifts, most likely, will not affect the long-term trajectory as determined by fundamentals like demographics and technology. A SHIFT IN GROWTH The first of the four long-term global economic trends that I will identify is the shift in global growth. Emerging economies will account for 50 percent of world GDP…

12 min
in good company

INDUSTRIALISTS DECRY UNFAIR COMPETITION The Association of Industrialists (ALI), chaired by Fadi Gemayel, has warned that a number of local factories will go bankrupt unless officials take swift measures to stop what he described as unfair competition by factories established by Syrian refugees. ALI called for protective measures, the end of dumping, and for the enactment of an export strategy to regain what has been lost in the past few years. Gemayel announced ALI’s demands, including the need for an incentivizing policy to create the proper atmosphere to increase local production. “We need protective fees for products that compete with similar local products, especially that such a decision does not contradict trade agreements we have signed,” he said. Gemayel asked for the raising of custom fees on such products, especially if…

6 min
money & banking

ANTOUN SEHNAOUI AND SGBL EXPAND IN U.S. AND UAE Société Générale de Banque au Liban (SGBL) and its major shareholder Antoun Sehnaoui are in the process of expanding their businesses to Abu Dhabi and the United States. SGBL plans to open a fullyowned subsidiary within the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) with an initial capital of $50 million, said Georges Saghbini, SGBL’s Deputy General Manager. The new entity will launch its operations in June and will provide corporate, institutional, and private banking services, he said. ADGM is an international financial center that offers tax incentives to attract providers of private banking services as well as wealth management and asset management services. Sehnaoui, SGBL’s Chairman, is, on a personal level, also expected to complete in July the acquisition of a small American…

5 min
official business

100,000 LANDLINE TENDER A tender was launched last month for Phase 7 of the Outside Plant (OSP) network, which is physical cabling and supporting infrastructure (such as conduit, cabinets, tower or poles) It will include for the first time the simultaneous installation of copper wires and fiber optics, according to Naji Andraos, General Director Equipment & Construction, at the Ministry of Telecommunications. The value of the tender is estimated at $35-45 million. “Around 100,000 landlines for 6,000 buildings will be installed in newly built-up areas countrywide. Areas of Bekkaa and Kesrouan that only have a wireless network will be excluded,” said Andraos. The tender will be divided into five groups. The first one includes Beirut, Shouf, and Aley, the second is Metn, Kesrouan, and Jbeil, the third, Tripoli and Akar, the…