Sometimes when you participate in a competition, take an exam, or perform in a group activity, you do so bad that you immediately know you'll be among the least fortunate in the results during that process.
In such a case you swallow your pride and accept the consequences of your ineptitude and/or lack of preparation. But when your name appears on a list of THE WORST, that's a completely different story. And that is exactly what happened with Lebanon at the end of last year.
In a brief 2019 investment report article published by Financial Post in December, which ranked the 5 best and 5 worst investments of that year, Lebanon made an appearance at the very bottom of, you guessed it, the 5-worst list. Even cannabis was higher up on that list!
In addition to the ever-growing political chaos and the economic calamity, the banks taking hold of the Lebanese people's money, the disappearance of US dollar bills from the market, and the failure of the ruling class to form a proper government in time to seize control over the crisis, "saw the Middle Eastern country fall into a tailspin," as the article fittingly put it.
As the crises compounded, Lebanese stocks plummeted and suffered.
The BLOM Lebanon Index is a major stock market index that tracks the performance of the largest companies listed on the Beirut Stock Exchange. In 2019, this index declined by about 20% and become the worst-performing index in the world.
It is not surprising to find that a corruption-infested, politically charged, financially flat country like Lebanon is repelling investors. On the contrary; to see investments flowing through a country in such an unenviable state would indeed be very unusual.
Switzerland of the Middle East is, sadly not so Switzerland-ish anymore... Until positive change - real change - is brought about in Lebanon's political system, we may not expect a proper change in any other aspect —certainly not in the realm of finance and investments.
And change, hopefully, is in the works today. It lies in the hands of the generations who have seen, and see every day, what life is like in the outside world and how painfully different it is in theirs.
With patience, perseverance, and great effort, this country just might survive, prosper, and catch up.