The Bader Foundation held a press conference this afternoon at the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, during the course of which solutions to raise the competitiveness of Lebanon were discussed. Lebanon is ranked 92nd out of 139 countries according to a recent report on global competitiveness (Global Competitiveness Report) published by the World Economic Forum.
“Today we stand at the gates of a major political crisis, whose effects have already begun to be felt on the economic situation, in terms of employment and investment and thus on the standard of living in Lebanon,” Bader’s president, Robert Fadel MP, said at the conference. “This political crisis offers more proof that Lebanon’s salvation lies in its civil society, via solidarity between the private sector and those economic organizations that have always served as a link between the Lebanese. That is why we must not stand idly by because to give up now would be tantamount to suicide!”
“Therefore, today we are discussing the issue of competitiveness, because it is through competitiveness that we can best respond to what remains of the aspirations of young people. We are fighting so that the country does not lose out.”
He then added that “competitiveness offers a new vision of economic policy, one based on improving the business environment. It requires us to reorient innovation, vocational and academic education towards the most productive sectors and to establish a plan for all sectors, not just at the national level, which will open the way for greater competitiveness for small and large Lebanese companies, raising living standards, the national income and creating jobs.”
“This can be achieved only by close cooperation between the government, the private sector, the education system and civil society,” Fadel said. “Hence the importance of cooperation with an organization as credible and influential as the World Economic Forum, which together with the Bader Foundation, will help Lebanon better hold on to its human resources.”
The MP then addressed the classification of Lebanon in the Global Competitiveness Report. "Lebanon has improved. The country has reached the upper echelons in terms of its banking organization, where it finished in fourth place. It is ranked sixteenth in terms of its educational institutions and ranks 19th out of 139 countries in terms of interest rates. In future, we will no longer accept that Lebanon lag at the bottom of the league with respect to the effectiveness of its legal framework, where we currently rank 133rd among 139 countries, and we strongly encourage the modernization of Lebanese law. The country also came in at 134th out of 139 in terms of the participation of women in the private sector, in terms of public debt, we are 135th out of 139 and finally, Lebanon ranked 136th out of 139 with respect to citizens' level of trust in their politicians!”
“Is it normal that Lebanon, a civilized, open country, should have so little confidence in its politicians?” Fadel asked. “This ranking, which speaks for itself, is an invitation to all political leaders to review their actions and examine all their work!”
Based on this report, the representative deemed it necessary "to establish a Competitiveness Council, which includes representatives from the private sector, economic organizations, civil society and educational institutions. The council’s aim will be to support innovation, increase dynamism and improve the business environment, as well as to support those sectors that create jobs and provide a better standard of living for the young generation.”
Finally, Fadel thanked the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, Mr. Mohammed Shoucair, assembled leaders of economic organizations and other participants. He reminded the economic bodies of their responsibility in maintaining the country's economic performance and in ironing out the current crisis and he urged them to remain involved in the reconstruction of Lebanon, regardless of circumstances.