Arab Spring and COVID-19: Ex post facto examination of the Lebanese banking sector (the contemporary stakeholder analysis)

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The purpose of this study is to examine the potential of Lebanese banks to address the economic challenges posed by COVID-19. These banks faced the disturbances of the 2011 Arab Spring, and these two crises have resulted in similar economic conditions, leading to an assessment of how Lebanese banks are dealing with the pandemic-led challenges. Exploratory analysis revealed the common features in the two events, and confirmatory analysis examined the hypotheses underlying a theoretical framework. Triangulation of qualitative and quantitative data helped to scrutinize the two events. Content analysis of data collected from semi-structured interviews with seven senior banking professionals confirms that the Lebanese banking sector’s experience gained during the Arab Spring is a valuable asset for bankers, the Banque du Liban (BDL), and the government, which can be used to anticipate and deal with the COVID-driven economic crisis. The study finds three key moderating factors: trust deficit, inherited characteristics of the economy, and fiscal and monetary policy. Most of these conditions are permanent in nature and require long-term planning. As this research was conducted before the catastrophe caused by the August 2020 Beirut explosion, no aspects of the financial consequences to the Lebanese banking sector and economy resulting from this immerse shock are included.

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    • Figure 1. Simple models of Arab Spring and COVID-19
    • Figure 2. Moderation on the path between Arab Spring and economic crises
    • Figure 3. Theoretical framework (Moderation on the Path between COVID-19 and Economic Crises)
    • Figure 4. Thematic construct of Trust Deficit
    • Figure 5. Thematic construct of Inherited Characteristics of the Economy
    • Figure 6. Thematic construct of Fiscal and Monetary Policies
    • Figure 7. Interview data word cloud
    • Figure 8. Histogram of terms used in the interview
    • Figure 9. Risk matrix
    • Table 1. Economic outlook of Lebanon for 2009–2019
    • Table 2. Overview of financial performance of Lebanese banks from 2014 to 2017
    • Conceptualization
      Rania Itani
    • Investigation
      Rania Itani
    • Project administration
      Rania Itani
    • Resources
      Rania Itani
    • Writing – original draft
      Rania Itani
    • Formal Analysis
      Muhammad Azeem
    • Methodology
      Muhammad Azeem
    • Software
      Muhammad Azeem
    • Visualization
      Muhammad Azeem
    • Data curation
      Nawazish Mirza
    • Supervision
      Nawazish Mirza
    • Validation
      Nawazish Mirza
    • Writing – review & editing
      Nawazish Mirza