Cranes in the container port of Beirut, the picture was taken before the explosion on August 4, 2020

Economic situation Important sources of revenue have been lost

Prior to the civil war (from 1975 to 1990), Lebanon was one of the Middle East’s most important trading and financial centres. Beirut was a banking metropolis, acting as a link between Europe and the Gulf States.

However, the country proved unable to regain this position after the war. Reconstruction was financed via loans – as a result of which Lebanon’s national debt is now one of the highest in the world. Lebanon’s economy is facing recession – considered to be one of the severest to have occurred worldwide since the 1850s – due to the decrease of its gross domestic product by about 40 per cent between 2018 and 2021. Its national currency, the Lebanese pound, has lost more than 95 per cent of its value. The financial and economic crisis has far-reaching impacts: About half of the workers are unemployed and some 80 per cent of the population are living in poverty.

The terrible explosion in August 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Syria have put a heavy strain on the Lebanese economy. Tourism – one of the country’s most important sources of revenue – has collapsed and exports to the Gulf States, which were largely routed via Syria, have suffered the same fate. What is more, Syria used to be an important market for Lebanese goods.

Lebanon, whose economy was already in a poor state, is now being hit by the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and its impacts on the international food and energy markets. Forty-six per cent of the population are currently affected by food insecurity.

As at: 21/04/2022