The Impact of Multiple Crises on Necessity-Driven Entrepreneurs in Lebanon’s Rural Areas - Hidab
The multiple crises—the financial meltdown, the Covid pandemic, and the port explosion—that have struck Lebanon over the past few years have left small businesses and necessity-driven entrepreneurs (NDEs)struggling for survival, with little or no government assistance. Many NDEs were established originally to cope with difficult economic conditions, and in light of the successive crises, these businesses are struggling to survive. This report is part of a larger project that explores the challenges NDEs in Lebanon’s rural areas are facing, and to offer policy options for local governments to support them.
To carry out the study, three districts from three different governorates were selected for comparative analysis: Rashayya-Bekaa, Fnaidek-Akkar, and Hidab Qattine-South Lebanon. The selection process was based on economic fundamentals, geographical diversity, and rurality characteristics.
In order to pinpoint the challenges that NDEs are facing to remain operational and sustainable in the current crisis, a qualitative research methodology was deployed for data collection. Two data collection methods were used: (1) one-on-one interviews with local decision-makers in each district, (2) focus group discussions with necessity-driven entrepreneurs from the selected sub-sectors in the three districts. For each focus group discussion, up to seven entrepreneurs were recruited from the identified sub-sectors.
This report is the third of a planned series on Lebanon’s rural areas, focusing on several towns in Jezzine District, including Hidab (population600-700), Qaytouleh (4,000-4500 inhabitants), Snayya, Rimat, and Saydoun, which from here on will be referred to as ‘Hidab.’ The report concludes with policy recommendations to avoid conventional policy pitfalls, which often disregard the role of municipalities in local economic development. It also highlights the need for a more inclusive entrepreneurial rural policy in Lebanon by: (1) empowering NDEs locally, (2) fostering economic growth, particularly in the agricultural sector, (3) enhancing regional networks, (4) engaging the youth, and (5) empowering women.
Lina S. Maddah
is a Senior Economic Researcher at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies. Her areas of work include Urban and Regional Economics, Firm Dynamics, Spatial Economic Analysis, Cultural and Creative Industries, and Local Entrepreneurship Ecosystems. Lina holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain, and is a Professor at the Department of Economics at the Lebanese American University.