Before the civil war in the Lebanon, the capital Beirut, was still regarded as the banking centre of the Middle East.
Before the civil war in the Lebanon, the capital Beirut, was still regarded as the banking centre of the Middle East. Now all of them are closed, and some foreign banks have moved their operations to other countries.
Though some banks plan to open again for business shortly, the buildings of many of the others were so badly damaged that it will be many months before they are ready to open their doors. Nearly all of the banks were looted during the recent fighting, and one British bank lost millions of pounds.
Consequently, there is talk of Cairo, Egypt, taking over as the financial centre of the Middle East, though many businessmen are sceptical about it being able to provide suitable office accommodation.
Meanwhile, a flourishing trade had sprung up for back-street money-lenders who are willing to exchange foreign money and Lebanese currency at high rates of interest.
As the financial life of the country remains frozen in the aftermath of the violence, the politicians-both Moslem and Christian-continue their efforts to arrive at a permanent settlement of the problems that have torn Lebanon apart so many times in the past. On Wednesday (11 February), the Prime Minister, Rashid Karami, who is a Moslem announced after the weekly Cabinet meeting that the unwritten pact under which the President of the Republic is always a Moronite Christian will continue in its present form. It would not be set down in writing as Moronite political leaders had proposed.
SYNOPSIS: The banks which were once the status symbols of the citizens of Beirut, are now empty, derelict and ravaged. Though the Syrian-negotiated ceasefire has ended the civil war between the Moslems and the Moronite Christians in Lebanon, the World's businessmen have failed to return. Several banks plan to open again for business shortly, but some banks have moved their operations to other countries.
Consequently, many back-street money-lenders are doing a brisk trade in exchanging foreign and Lebanese currency at high rates of interest. Nearly all the banks were looted during the fighting, and a British bank lost millions of pounds. So there is talk now of Cairo becoming the financial centre of the Middle East - a few months ago the proud boast of Beirut.