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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities May 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
with many stops, life continues

by the editor-in-chief Pause, is the state of the country as of late…induced by politics that has failed to close on a sensible or even a shameful electoral law. In business, there have been some exceptions to the wait-and-see mode that most have gone back to. Summer is almost here. Although weary of spoiling events, tourism-dependent sectors are gearing up to make up for some of what has been missed in a drought that has lasted several long years. JIGSAW ELECTORAL PUZZLES Politicians have explored every possible electoral law permutation. Each has its advantages and pitfalls. What are considered pluses for some political sides, are symmetrically deemed as minuses by their opponents. Governance by consensus, which we are doomed by, is proving once again its impotence. It is clear that at the end…

1 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES We should have a peace treaty between humans and birds President Michel Aoun We have done our share to support refugees. It is time for the international community to do the same Prime Minister Saad Hariri Lebanon can count on French support French President François Hollande Lebanon shows a great humanitarian spirit and gesture German Chancellor Angela Merkel We bow down to the contribution and sacrifice of our friends like Lebanon Boris Johnson, U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Interference of politicians in public administration is destroying it Patriarch Bechara El Rahi The Ministry of Education should not be divided into cantons Marwan Hamadeh, Minister of Education We are committed to maintaining the level of interest rates, which are lower than those in Turkey and Egypt Riad Salameh, Governor of the Central Bank The banking sector will not hesitate to finance the State…

11 min
in good company

$2 BILLION AVAILABLE FROM CHINA SILK ROAD The Silk Road Chamber for International Commerce (SRCIC) is ready to grant $2 billion in low-interest-rate loans to the local market, according to Adnan Kassar, Chairman of the Economic Bodies and the founding father of Lebanese- Chinese relations. “Tapping these funds is strictly tied with the government’s ability to put forth economic projects with benefit to the road,” Kassar, who is also the honorary Chairman of the SRCIC, said. The allocation is part of a $5 billion Silk Road International Development Fund that aims to finance deals introduced by SRCIC members. Kassar said that the hands of the private sector are tied without the support of the government. “Local officials have to express their willingness to cooperate with China in order for the country…

4 min
money & banking

BANK AUDI SELLS CARDS UNIT TO M1 GROUP Bank Audi has sold its electronic payment and card services business to M1 Financial Technologies, a subsidiary of M1 Group. M1 will operate the business via Areeba SAL. The value of the deal is $185 million, but is subject to adjustment of up to $35 million. The deal includes acquiring the team, equipment, machines, and all points of sales. The completion of the deal is waiting for the final approval from the Central Bank, as well as the relevant service providers, including MasterCard and Visa. Bank Audi will continue to deal directly with customers. Marc Audi, a Bank Audi Board Member, said: “Bank Audi has a 40 percent market leading share in the card market.” He said that the transaction will enhance the…

7 min
official business

CAMPAIGN TO LURE TOURISTS IS LAUNCHED Representatives from 150 travel and tourism companies visiting the country will be introduced to local hospitality players. The visitors will participate in a forum held on May 24, where 50 local travel and tourism companies will introduce their services, and have face-to-face business meetings. Wadih Kanaan, General Secretary of the Syndicate of Hotel Owners, said: “More than 800 international companies submitted applications to participate in the forum.” He said that companies are showing interest in participating in this forum, and that this number is expected to increase in the coming days. A committee formed by the Ministry of Tourism, including representatives from the private sector, the Syndicate of Hotel Owners, and Casino du Liban will choose the international companies that will participate in the forum.…

4 min
matters of fact

1.2 BILLION INVESTED IN HOSPITALITY LAST YEAR The direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in 2016 was seven percent, at $3.3 billion, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). The contribution reflects the economic activity generated by subsectors such as hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation. The sector’s turnover decreased eight percent compared to 2015. Pierre Achkar, Chairman of the Syndicate of Hotels Owners, said: “Touristic institutions launched several offers and reduced their prices early last year to attract low-budget tourists. There was a response to these offers and occupancy rates increased, but revenues decreased.” Jean Abboud, Chairman of the Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies, said that Syrians who were leaving via Beirut airport represented between 2011 and 2015 around 35 percent of travel…