Contributors: Haidar Noureddine, Christy BouMansour, Haya Mouakeh, Jennifer Sabra, Hanine Charanek, Mohamad Kanj
The Downfall of the Lebanese Lira
Abu Ali, a farmer living in Beqaa valley in Lebanon was facing problems with his apples crops after he was forced to cut the pesticides used because of the price increase after the Lebanese crisis.
He wasn’t sure how to protect his crops after he put a lot of effort during the year and now he is worried because he doesn’t have any source of income anymore.
Ibrahim Tarshishy, who is also a farmer in Beqaa valley, was not able to sell all his apple crops where half of them got moldy. “To be honest, I don’t expect the days ahead to be good. I see before us more depression, sadness and poverty”, said Ibrahim Tarshishy, a farmer in Riyak region, Lebanon”
Like these two cases, lot of farmers were facing like these problems, and no one was able to help them, and as we reach the conclusion of 2022, Lebanon’s financial woes are rapidly approaching the critical stage, and the Lira exchange rate is reaching a breaking record.
The Lebanese Lira exchange rate decreased because the supply for dollar was not enough to match the demand, and the central bank did not have enough reserves to interfere and match it with the demand. The demand for dollars was mainly driven by the aim to complete imports transactions. Since 2002, the net trade balance was negative, and the deficit was growing, reaching very high levels to around $14 Billion in 2014. This means that imports were higher than exports, and so the dollars outflow was bigger than the inflow.
To maintain the exchange rate fixed, as it was the case earlier, Lebanon used to depend on two main sources for dollars inflow, net transfers sources, and financial account source. First, Lebanon used to depend on transfers which includes grants, loans, and personal remittances. The graph below shows that net transfers were bringing a significant amount of dollars. However, this source is very unstable. It is very fluctuating, and it depends highly on uncontrolled factors like the help from other countries that we can not control as shown in the graph.
The financial account consists mainly of Eurobonds, and investments in companies, and currency & deposits coming from abroad into the Lebanese banks. As shown, this account was a huge source for dollar inflow. However, again, it is very unstable, and very fluctuating. There are almost no two similar points that are equal. Further, it depends highly on uncontrolled factors. For example, after Iraq invasion, so many Iraqis transferred their money into the Lebanese banks, and so the dollar inflow increased, but this happened because an event that we do not have control over it.
These two accounts together were balancing the dollar demand needed from the imports. In cases of mismatch between dollar supply and demand, the central bank used to interfere by buying or selling dollars in the market to keep the exchange rate fixed. However, in 2018, we had the second largest BOP deficit as shown below, which means the second largest dollar shortage, but the central bank did not have enough reserves which caused the current crisis.
In summary, the crisis started mainly in 2018. However, the root reason behind it is not the absence of reserves, but that Lebanon was depending mainly on unstable sources of inflow for foreign currencies, which was very risky, and unstable to maintain because of the fluctuations.
To further enrich Lebanon’s economy, we introduce our project that aims on focusing on sustainable economic development that relies on an integrated export system, naturally creating tons of job opportunities by enhancing Lebanon’s agricultural sector due to the presence of fertile land, abundant water resources, good weather conditions .
The project will control the process from harvesting to exporting, and starting with enforcing regulations that benefit the farmers instead of making it harder for them to export their goods, implementing technical guides that monitors farmers’ techniques into adopting good agricultural transactions, as well as adopting training workshops administered agricultural engineers also supplying them with the latest and greatest equipment that regulate water usage while limiting their use of unsustainable substances, such as harmful pesticides, and providing alternatives that are viable.
Now, since Saudi Arabia is infamous for its totally dry lands and a central region that is characterized by extremely hot and dry summers, it harbors a very limited agricultural sector and thus heavily relies on importing olive oil as well as basic produce. We should make use of the current improving relationship between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon and prioritize exportation to this country due to the low and reasonable shipping fees.
The olive oil market in Saudi Arabia needs a lot of importation as a change in dietary habits throughout the entire country has spurred the consumption of it. Saudi Arabia started importing about 30,000 tons annually while only producing 20% of its own olive oil, but that’s slowly changing as it’s heading towards an independent olive oil market realm that’ll eventually decrease the exports. We won’t focus on increasing the imports from Lebanon but on decreasing the shipping and customs fees that were introduced in June of 2020.
As we mentioned above, a huge change in dietary habits and healthy eating have welcomed Saudi lifestyles, thus making produce, especially apples, way higher in demand. Lebanon exports apples to Saudi Arabia in relatively low quantities as opposed to other countries because of strict pesticide regulations. To increase the exports, we should introduce strict laws that modulate their usage.
Lebanon’s avocado exports were totally banned in Saudi Arabia because of drug smuggling fiascos, which led the Saudi government to enforce harsh consequences that will only be salvageable by an examining process that helps avoid any trials of smuggling drugs.
Cyprus makes a great exporter as well, as it only holds 14.52% of agricultural land that is extremely affected by small temperature inconsistencies. Our focus on Cyprus is mainly due to the distance from Lebanon, which is only 26 kilometers, making it extremely easy for shipments to move within those countries.
The olive oil market in Cyprus is in a desperately high demand since the consumption of olive oil is three times greater than what the country produces. Because of this, we should encourage exports from Lebanon in a way that competes with both Germany and Spain, since they’re offering their olive oil at similar and lower prices.
Considering Cyprus is one of the most countries with apple shortage, it exports most of its apple supply excluding Lebanon from its exportations because of a heavily regulated pesticide system, solving that issue requires us introducing strict pesticide laws, after that we can start exporting to Cyprus at the same rate and price that we export to Turkey.
Because of the free trade agreement between European countries, Lebanon is unable to compete equally with European countries at exporting avocados, yet we are able to compete with Egypt, which offers a lower price. To solve this, we can try and export at a lower price than Egypt.
Fatou is a 27-year-old housewife. At 15 years old, she decided to quit her education to get married to the love of her life, a man 8 years older than her, who had promised her a wealthy life in which she wouldn’t worry about a thing.
A few years into her marriage, her husband wasn’t doing well financially, and she found herself financially abused by him. All the promises went into vain and she was there begging for a penny to get the most basic goods she needed. Looking at herself, she found herself with no knowledge or skills to help her stand on her feet. With no education to support her, she felt like all the doors were shut, and her only salvation was her husband, who in turn belittled her for always being dependent on him, noting that it had been himself who stopped her from being an achiever.
This is not only the story of Fatou, but also that of millions of women living in disparity because they couldn’t be self-sufficient and independent. This story is yet another example of what the SDGs tackle, like Reduced Inequalities, among others as Quality Education and Gender Equality.
The contribution of women in the society decreases early marriage, and early marriage is linked to low education.
The graph shows the countries with the highest number of women who were first married by age of 15.
The top 3 countries with the highest number of women who were early married are Niger with 37.37% , Bangladesh with 32% and Chad with 29.25%.
Moreover, 76% of girls in Niger are married before their 18th birthday and 28% are married before the age of 15. Niger has the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world and the 13th highest absolute number of women married or in a union before the age of 18 globally – 745,000.
As a result, Awareness campaigns must be done to limit early marriage, and impose laws on marriage before 18.
In the time it has taken to read this article 39 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
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.
Steve: “I would kill for – I would kill for sex! YES!KILL!”
The Board lights up with “KILL” as the no. 2 answer, the audience in the studio laughed, the audience at home laughed, and the video went viral of yet another successful episode of family feuds. Good job Steve, you are one hell of a host.
That night, the audience in the studio went home after a good laugh. After all, it is all good, if it is just a joke, right? But guess what, this isn’t a joke. This is a reality that many women face on a daily basis. That’s already horrendous, yet there exist an even harsher and more terrifying reality.
a young woman, married at the age of 18, a mother of two, and she spends her day roaming around carrying a basket over her head selling fresh produce to help support her family. She never got the chance to continue her education, but she’s doing her best to survive.
But once she gets home, that’s when her hell begins.
She gets beaten up by her husband if she doesn’t service him sexually. Let that sink in. She goes back home… only to get beaten if she refuses to sex her husband.
If that wasn’t bad enough, wait for the uppercut.
She believes her husband IS justified for beating her when she refuses sex with him.
Now imagine that is YOU…
Unfortunately, more than 60% of women in Mali believe that a husband is justified to beat his wife if she refuses to have sex with him; quite. Similarly, countries like Guinea, Niger, Burundi, Chad, Senegal, etc… also experienced a relatively high rate of women accepting that notion.
On the other hand, countries like South Africa, Albania, Dominican Republic, and Colombia had shown that the percentage of women accepting the notion of a husband being justified to beat his wife if she refuses to have sex with him is to be at 1% or less.
Drilling down into this alarming phenomenon, and trying to understand why such a phenomenon even exists, we discovered yet another factor that might play a significant role in that.
The dropout rate for female students from the educational system (especially at the primary level) is astronomically higher in countries where women believe in the notion compared to the countries where women do not share this notion.
As such, one way to combat this notion is to heavily invest in the educational sector and facilitate accessibility in order to empower women and break these hellish chains.
However, as demonstrated by Burundi, while education might be key, it is not enough. It should be coupled with awareness and empowerment campaigns in order to reinforce the self-esteem and self-worth of these marginalized female groups.
Let’s work together to make this world a better place for all of us!!!
The views expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not reflect or represent the official policy or position of AUB. The information available on this site is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind. AUB will not be liable for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality or reliability of the information contained on this site. If this website provides links to other websites owned by third parties, AUB is not responsible for the content available thereon.