Q&A with economist Hernando de Soto Polar
It is not every day that a world-renowned economist touches down on Lebanese soil,but it should not surprise that such a formidable economist could deliver a presentation less than 24 hours after arriving in Beirut for the first time in his life. It might be expected that he would start with an exercise in affinity, by saying nice things about this country’s welcoming people and surprising allure. But, it was refreshing to meet an acclaimed economist who not only confesses to being no specialist on the local economy (only a fool would claim to understand the jungle that passes as Lebanon’s economy), but who has real expertise on the issues that matter in developing countries. Executive sat down with Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto Polar on the sidelines of an event organized by Banque BEMO at the Ecole Supérieure des Affaires.
E What brings you to Beirut?
What brought me to Beirut was the invitation by Mr. [Riad] Obegi, and the fact that he told me, ‘Based on your kind of thinking, I’ve got a product that you’ve probably never heard of before, and that is my invention [see box page 56]. Why don’t you come and learn more about it, and at the same time, expose yourself [to the situation in Lebanon]?’ I said fine, and that’s what brought me here.
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