Data Visualization

Blog of the Data Visualization & Communication Course at OSB-AUB

This is my favorite part about analytics: Taking boring flat data and bringing it to life through visualization” John Tukey

Chile minerals dependency

Chile minerals dependency

+78% of Families in Chile are directly affected by Cooper price. What should we do?

On the past 10 years Chile has invested on developing Services as a way of descentralizing its economy. Has it work out?

Addressing Multidimensional Poverty in Lebanon

Addressing Multidimensional Poverty in Lebanon

Authors: Tala Abdul Samad, Nour Al Bidewe, Basman Hariri, Sara Sadaka, Aziz Saliby, Jean-Pierre Sakr

Over the past two years, Lebanon has been witnessing compounded crises such as brain drain, poverty, unemployment, and inequality. On October 3rd, we wanted to listen to the factors that affected the Lebanese the most. Borhan, a 60-year-old man living in Beirut, was one of the people we met. We captured a video with him to show the suffering of the Lebanese since the start of the crisis where he comprehensively described the severe living conditions. As we all know, 2019 was a year of transformation for Lebanon, beginning with the October 17th revolution in 2019, following the global pandemic in 2020, and the rise of inflation. Borhan expressed the feelings of most Lebanese, where he identified the problems that we are facing as residents. Many people mentioned that specific sectors have been hit the most, therefore we would like to perform exploratory data analysis and surveys using different datasets to be able to identify inequalities. We are also interested in using a data-driven approach to identify gaps and inequalities that exist in the education, income, and health sectors. 


As a result, we have exploited the World Bank’s World Development Indicators and we have identified several indicators which we have used as proxies to measure multidimensional poverty in Lebanon. We chose to have a topic related to the multidimensional poverty index in Lebanon compared to the Arab region. Since the multidimensional poverty index is calculated using three different dimensions, namely education, living conditions, and health, we decided to divide the three different dimensions among us. 

Living Conditions:

Housing is a significant indicator of the multidimensional poverty (MDP), and based on ESCWA calculations, the main indicators to assume whether housing is counted as depreciation for a household or not are ‘Overcrowding rate’ – the percentage of the population living in an overcrowded household – ‘Housing type’ i.e. houses, apartments, row houses, townhouses and duplexes, ‘Sanitation quality’ – availability of handwashing facilities, toilet cleanliness.

Historical data related to housing utilities in Lebanon was gathered from the Central Administration of Statistics (CAS), which contains significant indicators to measure MDP such as water, electricity, gas, actual rent, furnishings, household equipment and routine household, and others. Data is shown monthly from December 2007 till September 2022.

This data reported many indicators highlighting the increase in poverty on multiple sides. It is worth reporting that the consumer price index (CPI) Housing Utilities in Lebanon records the highest score this September 2022 (363.3) compared to October 2021 (215.9)

Looking at the nutrition level, food inflation was detected as the cost is more skewed to the right for the year 2021-2022; rising food prices reduce the purchasing power of food consumers. Another devaluation could be mentioned in the transportation sector, as the transportation sub-index of the CPI basket in Lebanon increased by 2339 points in September of 2022 (3,725), compared to August 2021 (1,386); the cost of transportation is significantly increasing, resulting in a limitation to access in the transportation sector.

It is worth mentioning that the CPI in Lebanon has more than doubled over the past year, peaking this September 2022 at a score of 1,611.4 against 714.8 in October 2021, and a higher CPI indicates higher inflation. This eventually leads to adjustments in the cost of living and income, which tends to worsen inequality or poverty as it hits income and savings harder for poorer or middle-income households than for wealthy households.

Healthcare System:

As stated by Joao Martins, MSF Head of Mission in Lebanon, “The crisis in Lebanon has been driven by years of corruption and now we are seeing that this can contribute to the destruction of an entire health system just as effectively as war or a natural disaster”. As a result, it is important to conduct a deep dive analysis on the healthcare system in Lebanon which is a dimension that measures multidimensional poverty.

First we will look at the current health expenditure (%of GDP) which takes into account the public and private health expenditure. By comparing Lebanon to the Arab World, we can notice that the current health expenditure is higher along the mid 2000 with Lebanon having 11% in 2000 while the Arab World having 4%. After that, Lebanon witnessed a decrease and the Arab World an increase reaching a value of 9% and 5%, respectively. The decrease in the expenditure in Lebanon has negatively affected the healthcare system as medication and vaccines are becoming scarce. Looking more closely, we can see in the next graph that the access to immunization has tremendously decreased in Lebanon. On average the access to vaccines (such as DPT, HepB3, and measles) has decreased from 83% (2000) to 67% (2021). 

On another hand, we evaluated the demand for private insurance in Lebanon. As we can see, the demand has decreased from 70% (2000) to 45% (2021). This decrease is due to all private insurance companies converting their payment method to fresh U.S. dollars and since the NSSF benefits have diminished due to the economic crisis, most Lebanese people are now left with no proper access to health assistance.  


We also conducted a survey on school and university students to analyze access to online education during the COVID-19 pandemic which was also identified as the new normal.

You can be part of our project by filling this online survey. Your answers are highly valuable to the development of our dashboard since the larger the sample size, the more accurate our results would be. 

At a later stage, we would like to present our results to our target audience which are UN agencies, local NGOs, and Lebanese ministries. We got a total of 135 responses from all over Lebanon where the survey was populated via social media platforms. The majority of the respondents were university students or graduates. Most of them were unemployed or employed in a full time position. 

We asked the respondents about their evaluation to their online experience; the answers rated their  experience as poor or fair. On a scale from 1 being a very bad experience and 5 being a very good experience, most of the respondents rated the effectiveness of online learning as 3. In addition, we asked about the preferred type of education; the majority answered the traditional physical method as the most preferred following the hybrid method as second preferred. These answers make us conclude that the online learning experience was not that good in Lebanon. This might be due to the lack of training from the government and the teachers. 

To further explore the facilities that were available to ease the online learning experience, we asked the people about their access to devices, electricity and internet. For the devices, the majority had access to devices that were mainly Mobile phones or laptops. Most of the respondents have access to electricity but not all the time while almost all the respondents have access to internet but the variance changed between access all the time and access but not all the time.  Most of the respondents reflected that they couldn’t focus and they weren’t serious about their studies during online learning. Furthermore, on a scale from 1 being not at all to 5 being for sure, we asked the people about their willingness to retake the online experience. The answers varied between 1 and 2 mainly. 

Finally, we asked the people about the disadvantages of online learning. Some of the responses include poor network, electricity cuttage, procrastination, weak communication, lack of motivation to study, more distraction, professors are not equipped with the resources, challenging experience for both students and professors. From this survey, we can conclude that Lebanon wasn’t prepared well for such a situation, especially its basic infrastructure which includes bad electricity and network services.

Lebanon’s Economic Crisis: Challenges & Solutions

Lebanon’s Economic Crisis: Challenges & Solutions


In this article, I’ll be discussing the Lebanese economic crisis, it’s challenges and solutions.   – Fun fact: the 0’s and 1’s (above) are, ‘Lebanon’ in binary. 

Most news today about Lebanon, is unfortunately, bad news.  

There’s an electric and currency crisis, a brain drain and so much more. 

And in these dark times, Lebanon is losing its lights, its educated people, to the other place.  
But outside sensational news, and using data, can we verify these challenges and offer a solution?

Well, after Investigating Lebanon’s inflation and GDP, we clearly see sky-rocketing inflation and a tumbling GDP.  

But what is the solution? 

Now, for a country to trade, it needs to find a niche – that is that one or two things it can do better than it’s competition and trade with those things. 

The bottom chart (in the above visualization) represents the population and export sizes of Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and UAE – Lebanon, the one in red, is greatly surpassed in both metrics.

However, if we look on the chart on-top, in 2017,  we see a golden opportunity, in the form of a golden bar: This is Lebanon’s Human Capital Index; which at a fraction of the budget, performs relatively close  to the two economic powerhouses of the region. 

This is where Lebanon can do trade! This is Lebanon’s niche!
You are Lebanon’s niche! 

And here are the solution details summarized 

‘While in Lebanon, the Lebanese youth should work  to obtain then commercialize patents in the digital service space.’- This is the Solution!  

This will diminish inflation, brain drain, unemployment, and offset copycat strategies! 

For the detailed version of the solution, please examine the visual above. 

And, to validate that Lebanese ideas are commercially lucrative 

According to the IMF, Lebanon ranks second in terms of Venture capital investment as a % to GDP. The United States ranks 1st with 2.84%, Lebanon comes in a close-second with 2.8%  
– so experienced investors see great potential in Lebanese talent! 

And in being part of the solution, I’m in the process of launching! – a site dedicated to the MSBA Alumni, where they can tell their stories, share their portfolios and get discovered; there will even be a collaboration section where they can work on projects to help build up the Lebanese tech scene!

So, this story has not ended; it is only just beginning! 

Thank you! 😊 



Africa is Turned Off !

Africa is Turned Off !


In the 21st century, most citizens across the world have access to electricity. According to The International and National Law Policy, access to electricity is considered as a human right. However, there are still countries far from having electricity. The World Energy Outlook in 2016 reported that around 1.2 billion people (16% of world population), where 90% of those live in Africa, have no access to electricity. The population of the African continent is a home for almost to a fifth of the world population, whereas it accounts to less than 4% of global electricity use.

Lack of electricity hinders the provision of basic services. More than half of schools and clinics in Africa remain without power or reliable electricity. In addition, electricity is essential since in numerous cases it means the difference between life and death. For example, hospitals need electricity to activate respiratory machines for people with respiratory illnesses. A research reports that around 4 million women and children die because lack of electricity every year compared to 1 million by HIV.

Moreover, a study reports that the number of people with access to electricity has increased worldwide, yet in Sub-Saharan Africa the number of people without access increased from 74% to 77% before 2019. Through out the 21st century, non-African countries that had low access to electricity for their citizens had an improvement and increased its percentage, whereas African countries remained with low access showing no improvement.



The African continent has the ability to generate solar electricity for the whole world in only a small portion of its land, almost a small part in the Algerian desert. Therefore, it is easily possible to increase the access to electricity for all African citizens, however it only needs some radical reforms. This is a long process due to the control of EU colonizers and the presence of corrupt politicians in almost all African countries.

Suicide Mortality Rate

Suicide Mortality Rate

Suicide is something no one wants to talk about, the majority of people who are feeling down don’t openly talk about it. The highest population that is being affected are countries that are surrounding Russia, and in South Africa. There are 800k people commit suicide each year, this is due to many economical issues in these countries. Imagine Karim a husband and a father of 2 living in a country where the basic human needs are neglected. Now Karim is struggling to find a job due to the high unemployment rate, this means he is not able to feed his wife and kids. Imagine being in his place in a country with a 26%  unemployment rate. People that are unemployed have a higher chance of commit suicide due their mental health taking a hit this could spiral own a dark hole which is hard to come out off. Unemployment forced 40% of the population to suffer from severe or moderate food insecurity and this is the disruption of food intake or eating pattern due to the lack of money and other resources. Now Karim can’t just feed his family but also can’t get the basic human needs.

All these problems correlate strongly with the Social protection and Labor Programs when these programs are lacking the result were higher suicide mortality rate. These programs help the population in managing risks and protect them from food insecurities through various methods. Poland has a high social program and the results of the suicide mortality rate is significantly lower compared to Lesotho which is the opposite with high suicide rates and low social program . This indicates to lower suicide rates we must increase the aid to the population by offering labor market, unemployment benefits, and other programs. Now Karim can relax and calm down as help is on its way to assist him and other people who are in need.