Lebanon's poor and vulnerable households to get $300m from World Bank

Additional financing approved for national social safety net programme

Vulnerable Lebanese households will benefit from $300 million in financing from the World Bank. Reuters
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The World Bank approved $300 million in additional financing for Lebanon's national social safety net programme on Friday to provide cash support to poor and vulnerable Lebanese households.

The financing will “further support the development of a unified social safety net delivery system in Lebanon to allow a better response to ongoing and future shocks”, the World Bank said in a statement.

The financial package is the second wave of financing to Lebanon's Emergency Crisis and Covid-19 Response Social Safety Net (ESSN) project, which benefits approximately 82,000 vulnerable households for up to 14 months through cash transfers.

The ESSN was approved in 2021 with $246 million, two years into Lebanon's economic crisis and following the global pandemic, to provide financial aid to some of Lebanon's poorest and most vulnerable.

The World Bank said the additional financing would “continue to help Lebanon protect its population from the impact of various crises”.

Lebanon, since 2019 in the throes of a severe economic and financial crisis that is considered by the World bank to be one of the worst in modern history, has experienced a contraction of 39.9 per cent in real GDP since 2018.

The contraction has effectively erased 15 years of economic growth for a country that was previously ravaged by civil war between 1975 and 1990, according to the World Bank.

Inflation is in triple digits, while the national currency has lost more than 98 per cent of it value. Food insecurity is common for about 77 per cent of Lebanon’s population, according to Unicef.

“The crisis continues to have a severe impact on the social level and is significantly impeding access to basic public services,” the World Bank said.

Updated: May 26, 2023, 7:55 AM