Lebanon’s Economy Faces Stark Choice: Reform Or Collapse

Lebanon marked 75 years of independence with a military parade Thursday in Beirut, but many anxious Lebanese feel they have little to celebrate: the country’s corruption-plagued economy is dangerously close to collapse and political bickering over shares in a new Cabinet is threatening to scuttle pledges worth $11 billion by international donors. The World Bank issued a stark warning last week, with one official saying that unless a government is formed soon to carry out badly needed reforms, “the Lebanon we know will fizzle away.” It’s been more than six months since Lebanon held its first national elections in nine years but the prime minister-designate, Saad Hariri, still hasn’t formed a government to undertake the reforms necessary to unlock the donors’ funds. According to AP agency, the vote, in which the Shiite militant Hezbollah group and its allies made significant gains, did little to pull Lebanon out of a political impasse. Anger against politicians’ apparent indifference, worsening public services and distress over down-spiraling finances and gloomy predictions are building up. A soaring debt of $84 billion and unemployment believed to be around 36 percent are compounding concerns that the country will finally cave in. “It is a shame because so much time is being wasted,” Ferid Belhaj, the World Bank’s vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, said during a meeting with a group of journalists last week. For years, he said, Lebanese officials have been promising to work on solving the electricity crisis, which costs the country about $2 billion a year and has been the main factor in accumulating Lebanon’s debt.

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Eradicate Hezbollah and their economy will improve dramatically. Easy to say, hard to do it...

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Anything new in Lebanon....

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Hezbollah and  Iran are destroying Lebanon.  

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Instead of the "Paris of the East" Beirut has become a copy of Tehran

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(edited)

$84 Billion dollars!  No real electrical grid except what people can piece together.  Scheduled blackouts.  Rolling blackouts.  Constant brownouts.  Generators are BIG business.  

Staying on the Grid in Lebanon

(Excerpt)

Before civil war broke out in 1975, Lebanon had 24-hour electricity. But the 15-year conflict destroyed much of the country's power infrastructure. Decades later, the sector has not been fully rebuilt and has not kept pace with the population's growing demand for power. That means scheduled power cuts of three hours a day in Beirut and sometimes 12 hours or more outside the capital.

Financial problems at the state-owned power company and political dysfunction, among other issues, have prevented the national government from fixing the grid.

The private generator industry arose as a makeshift solution but has grown into a deeply ingrained industry. In wealthier areas, each building may have its own generator. In poorer communities, people buy power from neighborhood generator operators.

Interesting to read that it was civil war that destroyed much of the country's power infrastructure, among other things.

Thank goodness the weather in Lebanon appears to be mostly-clear-to-clear all year long.

(from Weatherspark.com)

image.png.7e1a9135316031bfff1dd997bb4fc5ec.png

image.png.1b5f4b02246d30aa797b4a9f6abd20e3.png

With all the money that's been thrown at Lebanon that nobody expects to be repaid, the fact that they have to import their electricity, if and when they can, and all the pollution that those generators must be spewing out, this would be a prime candidate for a renewables proving ground that would really show the world what's possible.  Why haven't, say, 5-10% of those international funds been used to send in the windmills, er turbines, and solar systems?  They can build up a completely custom grid to accommodate anything the designers require.  Start from scratch!  Get in there boys and girls!  Don't you see the potential there?  Don't wait for others to do it, act now!  I have learned by reading the comments on this website that the environmentalists are go-getters and self-starters; not just talking about what should be done, but doing it.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, .............

 

Edited by Dan Warnick
Incorrectly typed Palestine instead of Lebanon.
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The descriptive "Beirut"  is now applied to cities that have disintegrated into Stalingrad-style war zones.  That any of this is going to improve any time soon and go back to being the "Paris of the East" is improbable. Underlying everything else is too many guns, specifically automatic weapons, and too many total hotheads quite willing to use them.  If anyone were to try to put up solar panels for electricity, I predict they would promptly be shot up by some other faction with a grudge. 

In my view the only logical solar installation would be shiny metal reflectors focusing solar beams onto a boiler on a tower.  That way, when the hotheads go shoot up the panels, they can still focus the rays and provide heat to the boiler, admitted with some holes in them. 

There is a reason there are no timeshares in the Bekaa Valley. 

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36% unemployment is not something that is repairable without lots and lots of outside capital.  And if the capital is not provided, then you can expect that the unemployed younger males will drift to the armed factions, and start up the shooting.  All in all, a grim future.

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1 minute ago, Jan van Eck said:

36% unemployment is not something that is repairable without lots and lots of outside capital.  And if the capital is not provided, then you can expect that the unemployed younger males will drift to the armed factions, and start up the shooting.  All in all, a grim future.

But free electricity, Jan.  Think of the possibilities.  The chance to build a solar and wind powered infrastructure.  Workshops where they can build or assemble, well, whatever they would find useful in their day to day toils.  Neighborhood meetings where you could turn on the lights! 

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Beside the fact that Lebanon has a poor infrastructure and suffered from a long civil war you also have to consider the huge impact of the Syrian civil war on this country. Lebanon has a population of only 4.4 millions but is hosting 1.5 million Syrian refugees.

 

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Starting projects such as solar power energy production is attractive on the surface especially with the abundance of wind and sun. The problem lies with the enabling environment required for such up operations. One of them is the near-to-total grip and some-how dominance of Hezbollah and their allies who are opposed to anything of the West. The investors are most likely to come from the West and/or have Western affiliations. I can tell you that no analyst will attempt to convince any investor to venture into those waters. The annoying thing is those that are strangulating the beautiful country always fan their families to peaceful countries and expect magic to happen to their own countries through their myopic and parochial dispositions.

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Just now, Chiddy said:

Starting projects such as solar power energy production is attractive on the surface especially with the abundance of wind and sun. The problem lies with the enabling environment required for such up operations. One of them is the near-to-total grip and some-how dominance of Hezbollah and their allies who are opposed to anything of the West. The investors are most likely to come from the West and/or have Western affiliations. I can tell you that no analyst will attempt to convince any investor to venture into those waters. The annoying thing is those that are strangulating the beautiful country always fan their families to peaceful countries and expect magic to happen to their own countries through their myopic and parochial dispositions.

 

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17 hours ago, Guillaume Albasini said:

Beside the fact that Lebanon has a poor infrastructure and suffered from a long civil war you also have to consider the huge impact of the Syrian civil war on this country. Lebanon has a population of only 4.4 millions but is hosting 1.5 million Syrian refugees.

 

And dont forget Syria has traditionally had a tradition of political meddling in lebanese politics adding also saudi influence and iranian influence and Israel also mixed with France and the U.S. Sadly the what could be called only democracy along with Israel in the Middle East lacks of independence now more than ever and is attached to the mentioned countries foreign policies in my view. 

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I have been told many times by people of lebanese origins all of them christian maronites that right now Hezbollah is faring much better than any other political party or organisation in the country which no doubt Hezbollah has exploited the longstanding political void on its behalf to attain its own strategic goals. Also Saudi Arabia has massive economic and financial influence in the country through the hariri family. Recent oil and gas discoveries might serve for many positive things in the country but first and foremost it needs to solve its political stalemate, the sickening confesionalist sytstem that drives the country and tornes it apart doing it no favor as a nation state but to serve each religious groups interests (greeks, armenians, syrians, shiites, maronites, sunnis, etc). 

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A long time ago,  when the various states were setup,  Lebanon was supposed to be the "CHRISTIAN" state.   Israel for the Jews, Jordan for the Moderate Muslims,  etc.

But that fell apart a long time ago,  and there are few, if any Christians still living in Lebanon.

I long ago gave up on the possibility of there ever being a stable government in Lebanon as long as Hezbollah exists there.

All of you will probably think i am crazy,  but i have often thought that the ONLY way to stabilize Lebanon IS TO MOVE THE CURRENT POPULATION OUT,  AND GIVE THE NATION TO SOMEONE ELSE.    SOMEONE THAT DESERVES A NATION OF THEIR OWN,  AND HAVE SHOWN OVER TIME THAT THEY CAN BE TRUSTED,  AND ARE COMPETENT ENOUGH TO RUN A NATION / STATE.

..................

The people I would give Lebanon to are the KURDS.

Let Lebanon be the new "holy land" of the KURDS. 

..................  

Let the Kurds from Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria,   all of whom are discriminated against in their own countries,  all move together,  and live in Lebanon,  which would become the new, Kurdistan.

Everyone knows how the Kurds from each of the above mentioned lands all work together.

The problem would be,   WHERE DO WE PUT ALL OF HEZBOLLAH,  AND THE OTHER MUSLIMS THAT CURRENTLY LIVE IN LEBANON.

No one wants them.

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The Lebanese are very resilient and a beautiful country. What they need is to not be meddled with. Which unfortunately isn't going to happen. 

Hezbollah isn't there for Beruit, they are there is mess with Israel, which itself essentially a creation of the west. Israel is certainly stable and strong, but if you granted rights to the previous residents and let them vote it wouldn't be Israel as we know it for long, so don't think it's a place of holy democracy.

The west needs to get out of the business of trying to fix, or manage, the Middle East, or any other place. Moving the Kurds to Lebanon would be an epic disaster. The Kurds aren't a people without a land. When the Europeans carved up the Ottoman the Kurds were deliberately denied a country. Which of course made the Turks and Iranians quite happy. No one in the region wants a Kurdistan, except the Kurds themselves of course. It is a bitter irony of course that today they govern their portion of Iraq better than Syria or Iraq governs themselves. What webs we weave.

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17 hours ago, John Foote said:
17 hours ago, John Foote said:

No one in the region wants a Kurdistan, except the Kurds themselves of course. It is a bitter irony of course that today they govern their portion of Iraq better than Syria or Iraq governs themselves. What webs we weave.

Exactly my point.

The Kurds could run Lebanon well.

But it will never happen.

Hezbollah runs their section of Lebanon,  and sows discord in all other sections.   A "STABLE" Lebanon is not in Hezbollah's interest.

A Kurd run Lebanon kills two birds with one stone.   Stability,  and no Hezbollah.

If only the Lebanese could get rid of Hezbollah.

 

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