‘Ten years from now, twenty years from now, you will see: Oil will bring us ruin … oil is the devil’s excrement. ’ This statement from Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso, one of the people credited with founding OPEC, illustrates a common phenomenon linked to the discovery of hydrocarbon resources, which has been coined the ‘resource curse’ . This concept links increased exploitation and reliance on natural resources with systematic decline in other economic sectors, specifically agriculture and manufacturing. In a country experiencing the ‘resource curse’, the economy will be geared toward one sector that absorbs all the resources, labor, and attention of policymakers, which eventually reduces investments in other sectors of the economy. These symptoms are even more dangerous in countries with poorly run and corrupt institutions, non-democratic regimes, and weak financial systems. Several countries with abundant resources, such as Nigeria, Angola, and Chad experience rampant poverty and widespread economic failures to this day, despite their riches. It is precisely this gloomy condition that Lebanon should try to avoid.

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