Value Chain Analysis in Lebanon – Let’s Work
InfoPro was commissioned a study by Global Development Solutions and the World Bank. The objective of the study was to identify and select two potential value chains for analysis from the following six sectors: agriculture and agro-processing; recycling and waste management; information, communications and technology entrepreneurship; municipal services; construction; and trade and Tripoli port development and trade logistics. This was conducted by collecting background research and figures on the various sectors being covered.
In-depth interviews were also conducted with all key players in order to identify the value chains to be adopted. InfoPro formulated a prioritization assessment matrix which helped in assessing the various sectors with the highest potential using a set of different criteria. The two high potential value chains identified were solid waste and potato. InfoPro’s next step was to identify all entities that would need to be interviewed to create a value chain map. Once several entities/ companies were selected, the snowball sampling method (commonly used to identify value chain stakeholders since, for example, a producer will be linked to suppliers who will, in turn likely be linked to other producers and so on) was utilized to determine which additional entities/companies to interview along the value chain. InfoPro and GDS conducted semi-structured interviews with stakeholders at every step in the value chain, including firms, government, NGOs, industry organizations, and others.
Survey of the Lebanese Franchising Industry
The TRANSTEC/EQUINOCCIO consortium was contracted by the EU delegation in Lebanon to offer capacity building support to the Lebanese Franchising Association (LFA) and local franchising companies. A primary component was to understand the current status of franchising in the country. InfoPro was commissioned to conduct a Survey of the Lebanese Franchising Industry with the aim to gather information on franchisors and local and international franchisees and estimate the contribution of franchising to the Lebanese economy. InfoPro compiled a list of companies across the different sectors, contacted a total of 1,200 companies to understand the prevalence of franchising and types of agreements within each sector. And finally, 200 companies were interviewed in greater detail to examine the franchising experience in Lebanon. The sectoral assessment included gathering information on employment, revenue and profitability, international expansion, financial conditions and constraints, franchisor-franchisee relationships, and outlook for the future. The study also assessed the barriers hampering growth and development in order to develop informed decisions on strategies that can grow this sector.
Direct Administrative Corruption in Greater Beirut
The Lebanese Transparency Association commissioned InfoPro to conduct a survey with companies in the private sector in order to address issues of corruption in the public sector. The study was based on 700 face-to-face interviews with heads of private companies from different business sectors. The business sectors were based on their contribution to GDP and included: 1) Trade 2) Non-financial services 3) Industry and manufacturing 4) Construction and 5) Banking. InfoPro by conducting the survey was able to identify the following:
- Identify private sectors view of corruption
- Identify private sectors perception of the legal system
- Identify challenges in procurement with private and public sector entities
- Evaluate the effect of bureaucracy and state intervention in the firm – micro dimensions of governance
- Perception of the private sector of their influence on lobbying
Gallup Hungary commissioned InfoPro to conduct the survey in 2014. It covered a broad range of business environment topics including access to finance, corruption, infrastructure, crime, competition, and performance measures. The study consisted of a corporate survey with 570 enterprises located in the Greater Beirut area and large cities nationwide and aimed to:
- Provide statistically significant investment climate indicators that are comparable across countries
- Assess the constraints to private sector growth and job creation
- Build a panel of establishment-level data that will make it possible to track changes in the business environment over time, thus allowing impact assessments of reforms
- Collect in-depth information concerning the labour market situation of young men and women and quantify the relative ease or difficulty of labour market entry
- Identify critical issues in the youth employment challenge and understand blockages
- Identify areas for policy and programme additions or revisions
- Improve youth employment policy making
Capacity Building for Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP)
InfoPro was commissioned the study by UNEP with the aim to identify opportunities for the contribution of public procurement to the achievement of national sustainable development targets. The expected results from the pilot project were to develop an SPP action plan and policy draft, creation of a website portraying SPP activities, and reporting on lessons learned. The study was carried out through a combination of desk research and in-depth interviews with the owners of businesses in the private sector, supply chain partners, procurement officers in various ministries and experts in sustainable public procurement in local and international organizations. The process started with the review of all available national and international documentation on sustainable public procurement. This included the assessment of case studies and best SPP practices applied in other countries. InfoPro also reviewed all laws and decrees pertinent to sustainable public procurement and conducted in-depth interviews with the entities responsible for managing Lebanon’s procurement law as well as main procuring entities. InfoPro also conducted in-depth interviews with key suppliers and importers to assess the availability and pricing of alternative sustainable products across the priority products identified. The interviews explored market receptiveness towards these products, current and expected sales trends, existing certification entities, and the availability of public programs promoting sustainable production in the specific sector. Next, InfoPro, in collaboration with UNDP / UNEP / IOF, drafted a SPP Policy and Action Plan to achieve the targets and ensure that public procurement fully contributes to sustainable development and a green economy in Lebanon. A workshop was then organized during which an overview of the draft SPP policy plan was presented.
The Lebanese Informal Enterprise Survey
The World Bank commissioned InfoPro to undertake the study. The aim of the study was to assess informal enterprises in Lebanon and constraints to their growth. The study investigated the effect of the influx of the Syrian refugees on these businesses and the economy in general. The sample consisted of 1,000 in-depth face-to-face interviews with informal businesses in Administrative Beirut, Tripoli, Zahle, and Saida. The owners of the informal businesses were Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian, and Iraqi. The interviews investigated the location of informal businesses, their infrastructure, whether they have faced security issues or had to pay for protection, their sales activity and how it has been affected by the presence of Syrian entrepreneurs / business owners, their financial status and assets, their labor force and the percentage consisting of Syrian refugees, and whether they would consider registering their businesses. The data gathered assisted the World Bank with developing policies and programs that would enhance employment and economic growth in Lebanon. It also helped in populating indicators provided by the World Bank which would assist in comparing Lebanon to other countries.
Overview of the SME Market in Lebanon
InfoPro was commissioned a study by an international consultancy firm. The objective of the survey was to provide the client with a detailed overview of the SME market in Lebanon and available financing solutions. InfoPro kicked-off the study by mapping all players who provide financing to SMEs. The main players – whether financing firms or banks – were categorized by criteria such as number of employees, geographic coverage, specializations, types of financial services provided, client profile, and sectors covered. InfoPro then conducted in-depth interviews with several of the players in order to obtain more detailed insights of the financing solutions available to SMEs, in addition to information on the conditions, interest rates, commissions and charges, limits and durations of the debt instruments available. InfoPro then conducted in-depth interviews with a pool of 150 SMEs. The interviewed SMEs were queried about the challenges they face in obtaining financing, their satisfaction with the entities that they currently deal with, and their interest in dealing with a new financial institution.
Business Registration Simplification Study
InfoPro was commissioned the study by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The aim of the study was to assist the IFC in surveying a representative sample of companies in the areas of Beirut and Mount Lebanon in order to support the government of Lebanon in its efforts to simplify the country’s business start-up regulations by improving and streamlining the registration procedures. Interviews were conducted with lawyers and business owners who had registered their own companies. This assisted in determining the obstacles faced by the private sector in start-up business registration and daily procedures, assisted in gauging overall satisfaction with government processes, and helped the IFC pinpoint areas that required reform to be implemented by the Ministry of Economy and Trade (MoET). In 2013, InfoPro was commissioned the extension project aimed at streamlining, simplifying and automating the business registration process through the Commercial Registry (CR). The overall stated objectives of the study was to assess and evaluate the processes in place and arrive at workable recommendations that would ultimately modernize, upgrade and introduce best practices. InfoPro’s tasks included carrying-out a site assessment of all Commercial Registries across the six Mouhfazas. InfoPro also assessed the current set-up of the Commercial Registries by interviewing the general director, Head Judge of the Commercial Registry, and the chief clerk across the various Mohafaza’s, in addition to more than 20 lawyers in order to map the registration process and recommend a more streamlined process.
The Productivity and Investment Climate Assessment Survey (I and II)
InfoPro was commissioned by the World Bank the two studies. The main objective of these two studies was to better understand conditions in the local investment climate and their effect on firm-level productivity for the private sector in specific. The goal of the studies was to advise the Lebanese government on ways to change policies that are hindering the growth of the private sector and develop new policies that support productivity growth. The companies interviewed belonged to the sectors with the highest contribution towards the GDP. Interviews were conducted with the top management of companies. Results for ICA I were based on 453 in-depth face-to-face interviews with general managers or financial managers of companies while for ICA II they were based on 482 in-depth face-to-face interviews. The main sectors covered for this study were the following: Food and beverage, furniture, textile, trade, services, construction, and hotels. The studies delved into the following specifics:
- Evaluation of productivity level of businesses
- Assess investment climate constraints to the company
- Identify investment in capacity, innovation and learning
- Identify obstacles with respect to infrastructure and services
- Evaluate relations between businesses and the government
- Evaluate the labor status of businesses
Business Survey of War Losses, Damages, and Needs for Recovery
InfoPro was commissioned the study by the World Bank. The aim of the study was to identify the indirect and direct damages incurred by individuals and the private sector post the July 2006 war and to prioritize their current needs so as to be able to formulate a recovery and rehabilitation plan. The study was divided into three phases; Phase 1 assessed the impact on businesses and included in-depth interviews with the owners of the biggest businesses that were directly targeted during the war, in-depth interviews with a sample of small enterprises located in war-affected area, and in-depth interviews with a panel of companies selected from the Productivity and Investment Climate Assessment survey. Phase 2 assessed the economic impact of the war on businesses belonging to a variety of sectors and their current / future needs. It included in-depth interviews with key business leaders in a variety of organizations and sectors, in addition to a compilation of common needs across various sectors. Phase 3 concentrated on an assessment of the needs of households and the displaced. The entire study included interviews with 400 SME’s, 2,000 individuals, and 50 in-depth interviews with the owners of the biggest businesses that were directly targeted during the war.