ProfessionnelWeb widens its editorial line to questions about very particular aspects of the professional world. To do this, we will interview experts on very specific topics who want to share their expertise with the Web Professional community. First topic: Should we invest in a country in reconstruction or by definition everything has to be done. We interviewed a contractor who has been working for about 20 years in Africa, Hassan Hachem, to find out more about the subject of reconstruction.

Hassan Hachem: we must believe in the renewal of Lebanon


The question of investing in a country in reconstruction is always touchy.

Is this the moment or not? Is it too early to go? Can the situation deteriorate further? Does it risk, on the contrary, to improve quickly and do I have real opportunities at hand? Is the risk too great? The same goes for investing in a convalescent country like Lebanon in the early 1990s, as well as investing in stock markets. We must invest when the cycles are at their lowest because once all investors arrive and the stock market is up, it is already time to sell and too late to invest. But how do you know if the cycle is really at its lowest level and will not go down again. This is the difficult equation that entrepreneurs face when deciding to invest in a country emerging from conflict. Hassan Hachem explains why he invested in Lebanon in the early 1990s, which was coming out of twenty years of civil war.

"In 1991, Lebanon emerged from the crisis. Even though I had grown up in Africa and studied in Paris, I kept a strong attachment to my roots and I hoped like all the Lebanese that the country would get up again. I saw myself as part of the generation that would rebuild Lebanon. This led me to consider investing in real estate in Beirut. Obviously, the risk was very important at the time because the country was not stabilized yet. For the same reason, there were opportunities for those who sincerely believed in the future of Lebanon. "

How did you evaluate the risk?

"When you're an entrepreneur, you're always taking risks permanently. The worst of all risks is not to take it, because you let others take the initiative in the future and come up to you.

When it comes to assessing the risk associated with the purchase of ruined buildings in downtown Beirut, here is the way I reasoned. In the vast majority of cases, countries emerging from conflict always end up with their economies getting back on their feet. Not all at the same speed. Not all in the same proportions, but all end up seeing their economy start again. The risk that I took was therefore that of time: I did not know if the time to renovate for resale or lease would come under one year, five years or ten years, but I knew that the time would come and that, on the other hand, the likelihood that properties will appreciate in value is much greater than the loss of value. It was necessary to position oneself at that moment, even if taking a significant risk, essentially on the time. I decided to take the risk in the mid-1990s because I bet on the future and to be honest, it is not the rationality that prevailed. In the end, it was the heart that won. I wanted to participate in the reconstruction of Beirut alongside other big names such as Rafic Hariri (the main architect of the reconstruction of the center of Beirut and former Prime Minister). "

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