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Showing posts from September, 2009

The Lebanese Economy- Bucking the Global Trend -

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Wall Street Journal- Special Lebanese Supplement
By Scherzando Karasu








“This is a very resilient system, one with truly solid foundations. It is clear that the global financial crisis [has] not impacted Lebanon in any significant way. We have been isolated from [its] impact, and that was not by chance but due to determination and planning.”

Fouad Siniora Prime Minister of Lebanon

Despite considerable challenges, Lebanon’s economy has made solid gains. But the government elected on June 7 will need an appetite for reform. The most important characteristic of the Lebanese is their will, determination and capacity to adapt and adjust,” says Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. Few would disagree.

Re-emerging from the crippling civil war of 1975-90, Lebanon spent 15 years reconstructing its shattered infrastructure and housing stock, only to have its renaissance checked by a roadside explosion in February 2005 that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Eleven subsequent assassinations, the …

Lebanese Banking - Depositors seek sanctuary in a well managed and robustly insulated banking sector

Published in The Wall Street Journal - Special Lebanese Supplememt -

By Scherzando Karasu

The crisis that swept the international banking system last September and October, prompted by the collapse of Lehman Brothers and widespread fears about bank stability, led to a global crisis of confidence that has tipped much of the developed world into recession.

With a banking system that is of disproportionate importance to the economy – the sector accounts for some 65% of the Beirut stock market, while deposits in the 65 commercial banks stand at around $94 billion, or 330% of GDP – the mood in Lebanon should have been anxious.

Instead, the sector saw almost unprecedented inflows, raising commercial deposits some 16% over 2008.Much of this was in the latter part of the year as anxious depositors – not just Lebanese, but Arabs from the Gulf and wealthy Russians, among others – moved funds out of foreign banks weighed down

by toxic assets toward what they perceived as a safe haven of well m…

The International Resource Journal

Norwegian Oil and Gas - Managing Decline of a Sunset Industry
11 July, 2009

With Norwegian production now passed its peak, oil and gas output is expected to drop rapidly within relatively few years, combined with the absence of major discoveries over the last decade, this will present a considerable challenge for maintaining value creation and a sustainable level of activity on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The remaining resource potential is large but will this decline be adequately met by the commercialisation of many smaller finds in mature areas of exploration? Opportunities for future output growth rest primarily on large new discoveries but this is an unlikely prospect at best. In light of this reality how is the Norwegian oil industry seeking to manage its decline?

In May of 1963, Norway asserted sovereign rights over the natural resources in its sector of the North Sea. Exploration started on July 19th, 1966 when Ocean traveller drilled its first well. Initial exploration pr…

Nuevo Leon Piece - Mexico- Business Week

The Drive to Create a Knowledge Driven Economy

By Scherzando Karasu

“Nuevo Leon is a territory where based on a plan and a general strategy jointly adopted by society and the government to have the common goal of building an economy based on the development of knowledge”  

Governor José Natividad Gonzal Parás

Nuevo Leon already among the most dynamic economies in Mexico, and has been at the forefront of applying R&D, innovation and science and technology, with a population of just 4.3 million, the state commands 7.6% of Mexico’s GDP and exports some $17 Billion USD per year. With a GDP per capita more than double the national average the state has been at the vanguard of an aggressively coordinated shift up the value-chain and is now host to some 2,000 foreign companies now established in its booming metropolitan area of Monterrey.

The state capital, long known for its large industrial enterprises, is today transitioning to a knowledge-based economy marked by tech startups and in…

Why you should trade currencies- Investors Chronicle -

By Scherzando Karasu

FOREX trading has a reputation for high-risk, exclusivity and was historically seen as the playground of banks, corporations, hedge funds and other citadels of capitalism, picture foreign-exchange traders and you probably imagine over-paid, over-excited young men in some giant dealing room, all shouting into multiple phones.These days though, you don't have to be a city-slicker to make great profits from the currency markets. With little more than an internet connection and small trading account, pretty much anyone can be a FOREX trader.

What is striking is its colossal and rapidly growing scale of the market. With over $2 trillion a day changing hands it is vastly bigger than stock, bond or commodities markets. With the rapid emergence of online trading platforms and sophisticated technology such as free charting software and real time news-feeds the market has been democratised to a new tier of retail traders who can buy and sell currencies with the click of…

Barack Obama One of US?

Business in Africa Magazine June 2009
By Scherzando Karasu

It still feels strange saying it: The son of a Luo goatherd (who went on to become a Harvard-educated government economist in his native Kenya), is now the president of the United States of America.

Barack Obama is a son of the continent his African roots are both personally deep and politically significant, a man who knows Africa from the ground up. His inauguration as the 44th president has been hailed worldwide as a remarkable watershed in America’s history, but nowhere are the expectations of him more stratospheric than in Africa. From an African perspective, the power of Obama lies in the symbolism of his election. The shift in people’s perception of what is possible has already had enough positive effect for Obama to never lift another finger and still be declared a success.

But during his campaign Obama was taciturn on Africa. Whilst touring the continent in 2006 as a freshman Democrat Senator from Illinois he said, “On…

The United States of Africa - Pipe Dream, or the future of the new African economy?

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Business in Africa June 2009

By Scherzando Karasu
“Hail The United States of Africa-free! Country of the brave black man’s liberty; state of greater nationhood thou has won, A new life for the race is just begun.”

Those words written first in 1924 by the activist and poet Marcus Garvey, gave voice to the socio-political world view which seeks to unify native Africans and indeed those of the African Diaspora as part of a, “global African community” The dream of achieving a politically United Africa.

“The United States of Africa” is the name sometimes given to one version of the possible future unification of Africa as a national and sovereign federation of states similar in form to the United States of America.

Alpha Ouamar Konare former head of the African Union has said, "The battle for the United States of Africa is the only one worth fighting for our generation - the only one that can provide the answers to the thousand-and-one problems faced by the populations of Africa,"…

How will the Global Financial Crisis Effect Africa; a blessing in disguise?

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Africa in Business
By Scherzando Karasu

They say that when America sneezes, Europe Catches a Cold, Asia develops Pneumonia and Africa’s Tuberculosis gets worse. This is what we are beginning to see”.

Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya 8th of October 2008
 The former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has said that Africa was facing the equivalent of a “Tsunami” and Dominic Strauss Kahn of head of the International Monetary Fund, told a conference in Dar-es-Salaam Tanzania on March 17th, “The crisis has turned worse than even our relatively pessimistic forecast”.


Despite all of this apocalyptic doom and gloom, the Economist’s World growth league table for 2009 is predicting that Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) will perform better than other emerging markets. Fully 15 of the top 20 top-performing economies in 2009 are in this region, led by Malawi and Angola and indeed several African Nations will buck the global trend and experience a pick-up in real GDP growth.

So what is really goi…