Thursday, August 14, 2008

Take a wild guess

Lebanon is this year the second ranking Arab country, after Saudi Arabia, in terms of Arab investments: it has attracted 23.8% of all Arab investments made in Arab countries (which were not very high to start , see this article). This amounts to nearly $3.5 billions. But where it gets really really interesting is here: 60% of this investment was in real estate i.e. land and houses. This is what has driven the prices of real estate so high that I have to move houses because I cannot afford to pay my rent. I have been living in my house for 12 years, and this year the landlords asked for a 30% increase. House prices have increased by more than 50% over the last year.

Agriculture got 1.4% of the total investments and industry 3%. Tourism got 13% and "services" the balance.

This is the Lebanese economy, as promised: an economy mostly based on selling capital assets, with some reliance on services, a little tourism, and total neglect for the productive sectors. The Arab investors mirror the government's economic priorities. Guess why?

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