The World Bank yesterday warned that Lebanon’s prolonged severe economic depression may place it among the ten most severe crises globally since the mid-nineteenth century.
In a new report titled, ‘Lebanon sinking into one of the Most Severe Global Crises Episodes, amidst Deliberate Inaction’, the World Bank Lebanon Economic Monitor (LEM) said: “In the face of colossal challenges, continuous policy inaction and the absence of a fully functioning executive authority threaten already dire socio-economic conditions and a fragile social peace with no clear turning point in the horizon.”
The report said Lebanon’s GDP has plummeted from close to $55 billion in 2018 to an estimated $33 billion in 2020, while GDP per capita fell by around 40 per cent in dollar terms.
The report quoted Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq regional director, as saying that “Lebanon faces a dangerous depletion of resources, including human capital, and high skilled labor is increasingly likely to take up potential opportunities abroad, constituting a permanent social and economic loss for the country.”
“Only a reform minded government, which embarks upon a credible path toward economic and financial recovery, while working closely with all stakeholders, can reverse further sinking of Lebanon and prevent more national fragmentation,” he added.
Despite international pressures led in particular by France, the Prime Minister-designate, Saad Hariri, has been unable, since his assignment in October 2020 to form a government that could lead reform and help salvage the country’s economy.