January 19, 2017


Lebanon gets a new government, now it needs a new economy (Lisa Barrington, 1/19/17, Reuters)

Long-term, Lebanon is searching for new sources of growth, which fell from 8-9 percent to below 2 percent when Syria's civil war began in 2011. Beirut is working to start oil and gas exploration, offering support to technology start-ups and urging its vast diaspora to bring their brains and bank accounts home.

But before these dreams can be realized, the government, which started work in the new year after the country spent 2-1/2-years without a president, has an urgent to-do list.

The country's infrastructure has been awaiting repair since the 15-year civil war ended in 1990: roads are clogged with cars, beaches are littered with waste, internet links are slow or patchy and cuts to power and water supplies are frequent.

Reams of legislation, such as a hydrocarbon industry tax law and the privatization of the stock market, await completion.

Top of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's list is a budget, which the country has not had since 2005, and a better environment for business, his economic adviser Mazen Hanna told Reuters.

Posted by at January 19, 2017 5:36 AM