More than thirty years ago, Lebanon awoke from a nightmare. The year was 1990 and the “Switzerland of the Middle East” was coming to grips with the results of a devastating civil war which had left 150,000 people dead and forced millions of citizens to leave their homeland. In the last three decades the country has slowly risen, once again becoming a model of religious pluralism with growing civil consciousness and (relatively) high levels of female emancipation.
Recently Lebanon has, however, had to face a number of challenges: the 2020 Beirut explosion, COVID-19 and its greatest financial crisis, which the World Bank has placed in the “top 3” of the world’s worst since the second half of the 19th century.
In per capita terms, GDP has fallen by 40% in recent years and, according to the World Bank: “More than half the population is likely below the national poverty line, with the bulk of the labor force suffering from plummeting purchasing power. With the unemployment rate on the rise, an increasing share of households is facing difficulty in accessing basic services, including health care.”
( 2019 )