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Lebanon’s economic rescue plan only buys ‘a few more years before we run into the next crisis’

10 2 1
01.06.2020

“Whatever financial technical solutions you put in place, the underlying problem is a political dysfunction here… what we have now doesn’t work and is never going to work… [the rescue plan] buys [us] a few more years before we run into the next crisis,” says Mike Azar.

Azar is a senior project finance advisor with a graduate degree in international economics who commentates on Lebanon’s economic crisis as part of a civil society group called the NERDS. The NERDS, which stands for ‘Nasty Economy Requires Drastic Solutions’, are a loosely affiliated group that started on Twitter in late November with the anonymous handle @lebfinance.

Azar tweets under the handle @AzarsTweets and terms the NERDS a “brand” because the group has no official coordination or structure. Each individual is free to share their own opinion and analysis, and many members of the group disagree.

“I think an important thing to mention [is], when I’m talking to you now, I’m talking to you on behalf of myself. There may be lots of people who are loosely connected to the NERDS who may have a different view than I do,” he says.

Azar’s, and others, analysis is now published on Finance 4 Lebanon – a blog site created especially for the group by Elie Habib, co-founder of music streaming site Anghami. The posts are amalgamations of the NERDS’s Twitter threads which explain and analyse everything from how Lebanon’s exchange rates are calculated, to thoughts on government policies and discussions of mismanagement by prominent banking officials.

In Lebanon, women are being killed in their homes because of the lockdown

I caught up with Azar to get his take on Lebanon’s economic rescue plan and to find out if the roadmap is a realistic solution to what, he says, is a self-inflicted........

© Middle East Monitor