Lebanon’s economy could add “one-billion-dollar” cannabis industry

McKinsey’s plan to help Lebanon’s economy leans on cannabis and avocado cultivation besides tourism boost and rebuilding of Syria among others.

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Lebanon’s economy meets McKinsey’s vision as the latter listed out a range of recommendations that touches upon the creation of a wealth management and a hub for “investment-banking” along with turning Lebanon into a medicinal cannabis provider. However, making the plan success isn’t going to be an easy task.

Talking about Lebanon’s economy, one would place the country in the list of the “third-most indebted nation” in the world, wherein implementing the “1,000-page report” drive is termed “crucial” by Raed Khoury, the Caretaker Economy and Trade Minister, provided the country wished the “international community to start releasing $11 billion in grants and soft loans pledged in April’. For Khoury mentioned that:
“They are all interrelated”.

The President of Lebanon, Michel Aoun was presented with the abridged version of the report, while the full version awaits ratification from the new cabinet, which still in the making stage under “Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri” since the election of May.

Lebanon’s economy is getting ‘more desperate for cash’, while the Head of Beirut-based “Levant Institute for Strategic Studies”, Sami Nader thinks that the “complex sectarian rifts” in Lebanon could limit the McKinsey plans to “theoretical exercise” alone. However, he added:
“The effort is laudable anything that touches the economy will need political consensus in Lebanon because we don’t have a functioning democracy.”

McKinsey has hired to create an economic plan suitable to the country. Nearly “three times” more Lebanese people live abroad, and the country’s sustainability has been dependent on Gulf and Africa remittances used by the banks for buying “government debt”.

According to the figures reported by Donna Abu-Nasr:
“Public debt stands at the equivalent of 150 percent of economic output and the International Monetary Fund sees it reaching 180 percent in five years. That puts Lebanon in the same league as Japan and Greece.
“Foreign reserves — currently a record $43 billion — enabled the local currency to survive political storms that periodically left Lebanon without a president or prime minister, as well as the influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees and the negative impact of low oil prices on the Gulf job market”.

The report of McKinsey has listed out some “quick wins” for easing out the “economic slowdown” besides giving a glimpse to the world about Lebanon’s seriousness on “change”. These suggestions include “setting up a construction zone for prefabricated housing that can be used in the rebuilding of war-torn Syria and Iraq, boosting tourism and opening new markets for a couple of Lebanese crops: avocados — and cannabis”.

Khoury thinks that Lebanon stands a chance in legalising cannabis cultivation and becoming an exporter of the drug for medicinal purpose which could turn into a “one-billion-dollar industry”, as he said:
“The quality we have is one of the best in the world”.