Lebanon Daily News Brief 10/04/2022

Tuesday, October 4, 2022



Depositors Storm Several Banks
According to AP News,
Lebanese depositors, including a retired police officer, stormed at least four banks in the cash-strapped country Tuesday after banks ended a weeklong closure and partially reopened.” [AP News]

Two Ministers Reportedly Requested Recusal from New Government
According to Naharnet, Several caretaker ministers have requested not to be part of the new government, LBCI television said. ‘Telecom Minister Johnny Korm has informed PM-designate Najib Mikati of this, proposing the name of Ziad al-Jalfoun to be his successor, and he has informed the Marada Movement of his decision,’ LBCI quoted informed sources as saying.’Finance Minister Youssef Khalil has also told Mikati that he does not want to assume any ministerial portfolio in the coming government, and should Khalil be changed he will be replaced by Yassine Jaber as has become known,’ the sources added.” [Naharnet]

Israeli PM Welcomes Maritime Border Proposal
According to AP News, Israel’s prime minister [Yair Lapid] on Sunday welcomed a U.S. proposal for setting the maritime border with Lebanon, saying the American plan for resolving a long-running dispute between the neighboring countries would lift Israel’s economy and boost regional security.” [AP News]

IMF Director Reports 141 Million Food Insecure in MENA Region
According to the National, “More than 141 million people in the Arab world are exposed to food insecurity, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, said in Riyadh on Monday, as the organisation approved a new food shock borrowing window for vulnerable countries . . . In Lebanon, more than 80 per cent of the population has slipped below the poverty line since an economic crisis devastated the country in 2019. The United Nations World Food Programme says half the population is now food insecure.” [The National]


“Here, You Can Only Expect Help From God”
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “When I first visited Lebanon in the early 70s, I came with my mother’s stories of tasty, larger-than-life produce born from the tradition of small-scale, farming that historically fed the nation. Like others, my family had moved from silk production, to tobacco, to fresh produce that always found its way to a ready market in neighboring Batroun. Based on these vivid memories, I had high expectations and was pleased to be fully rewarded by the vitality and scope of the Lebanese markets. Then came the civil war. With young people emigrating to the Gulf and West Africa, farming became an illusory pursuit – abandoned to the greenhouses that dotted the fields and hills as one traveled north and east from Beirut. Lebanese could buy whatever they wanted to consume thanks to the inflated currency and the supply chains that seemed to crisscross the region, bringing products to vendors on every corner. Since then, the decline of the agri-business sector has both changed the country-side as well as options for the future. As in other countries, young people have no interest in finding opportunities in agriculture despite the usual availability of all the productive and marketing inputs. In fact, the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS) addressed the prospects for Lebanon’s agro-economy in several studies done in the last decade that indicated the competitiveness of Lebanese fruits and vegetables. Since then, with the onset of the pandemic and subsequent global supply-chain issues, additional studies point to the multiplicity of benefits from supporting an active agro-economy – not only for farmers, but also for the country.”

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Lebanese Center for Policy Studies
Local Entrepreneurship Ecosystems and the Survival of Rural Economies

Lina S. Maddah

Maddah writes, “Given the structural problems in the Lebanese economy today, building a consensus on what might help local entrepreneurship is urgent and necessary. Increasing the average number of small businesses can boost the economy only when local cultures are capable of cultivating their growth and when there are local opportunities that can be well-exploited. Theoretically, an entrepreneurial culture is an environment/context that encourages business activities involving ‘a set of interconnected entrepreneurial actors (both potential and existing), entrepreneurial organizations (e.g. firms, venture capitalists, business angels, banks), institutions (universities, public sector agencies, financial bodies), and entrepreneurial processes (e.g. the business birth rate, numbers of high growth firms), which formally and informally coalesce to connect, mediate and govern the performance within the local entrepreneurial environment.’ In the Lebanese context, it is easy to diagnose weaknesses in the aforementioned bodies, coupled with an interrupted interconnection. Necessity-driven entrepreneurs (NDEs), like any other entrepreneurial ventures, need to be studied in a local context. What are then the missing linkages in Lebanon’s rural areas for these entrepreneurs, and cultures, to thrive?”

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.