Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Counting the Costs - Recovery in War-torn Economies

Abdulwahab Alkebsi from the Center for International Private Enterprise talks about the potential of the West Bank's human resources if it is to become a post-conflict state. It is important to remember that even though a country may not have the natural resources that have traditionally made states wealthy, in the 21st century, human beings have the potential to create wealth by equipping themselves with the knowledge and technical expertise to move their countries forward, not only economically, but politically and socially as well.

Lebanon knows this, as it is going through the process right now. Not a block in Beirut is passed without a towering crane removing the wreckage of the past and replacing it with the splendor of the future, not a city stands tall whose monumental ruins do not hold the promise of better days ahead, not a vault in a bank is opened without the thought that yes, Lebanon can be a place where people live in peace and people want to visit and people come to adore. People will come. People have come, a record number of them this summer, and with some brainpower and a little elbow grease, even more people will come.

No oil flows from these ancient lands into the hands of the economy; no natural gas, either, but natural beauty is available in abundance. Banking and tourism are two of Lebanon's major industries, two industries that require vast amounts of human resources and an educated populous, something Lebanon does not lack.

Civil society can lead the way by pushing for transparency and accountability in the reconstruction process to ensure that Lebanon fulfills its shining potential.

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