This article first appeared at Executive Magazine on 14 January 2013
When Riad Salameh, the governor of Banque du Liban (BDL), Lebanon’s central bank, announced in November $800 million for a new stimulus package to help the economy grow in 2014 — he was perhaps guilty of overstatement. While there will be $800 million made available, what Salameh neglected to mention was that $468 million of it was actually unused money from 2013’s stimulus package which will be rolled over. As such, just $332 million of purely new money will be extended, less than 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
While Salameh was quick to stress that the primary reason for not releasing more money was fear of inflation, there are other factors that may have caused him to ease off. Put simply, the impact of the first stimulus package remains unclear, while the general weakness in the economy and low levels of confidence mean that the positive effect of any new round of stimulus is likely to be muted. In such a climate, and with the ongoing political impasse showing no signs of easing up, the governor is faced with the unenviable task of again shouldering the burden of moving the economy forward with limited tools.
This article originally appeared on IRIN, the United Nations’ press wire. “If they throw us out, we will end up in the sea,” Zahar Sayed Ghadbaan says, her anger not entirely disguised by the joking tone. “We have nowhere else to go but here,” she says, gesturing towards the small hand-built home with a corrugated iron roof. The Ghadbaan family is one of 75 in the Palestinian gathering, or informal settlement, of Qasmiyeh in south Lebanon, where they are living with the prospect that their homes might be destroyed. Like many of Lebanon’s estimated 280,000 Palestinians, the family came to the country in 1948 after being evicted from their homes by Israelis. Now, 65 years later, they could be facing a second eviction. Qasmiyeh, unlike other areas where Palestinians have established homes, is not part of an official refugee camp run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). There are 12 such camps, recognized by the Lebanese government as holding official status under UNRWA management and the residents are protected against eviction. Read the rest of the article hereMarathon_Map_annie.jpgAir strikes March 2015