Poverty in Lebanon Soars Amid Ongoing Economic Crisis

Lebanon’s poverty rate has more than tripled over the past decade, with over 44% of the population now living below the poverty line, Al Jazeera published yesterday citing a recent World Bank report.

The bank’s report, released on Thursday, was carried out in five of the country’s eight governorates, showing that poverty rose from 12 percent in 2012 to 44 percent in 2022, with stark differences between different areas of the country.

According to the report, while poverty declined from 4% to 2% in the capital Beirut, the impoverished northern Akkar region saw a dramatic rise from 22% to 62%. 

The crisis has also exacerbated the divide between Lebanese citizens and the country’s large Syrian refugee population. In 2022, the poverty rate stood at 33% among Lebanese, but reached a staggering 87% for Syrian residents.

When considering multidimensional factors like access to electricity, education, and income, the report found that 73% of Lebanese and 100% of non-Lebanese qualified as poor.

The dire economic situation stems from Lebanon’s ongoing financial crisis, which has seen the currency collapse, hyperinflation, and a plummeting GDP since 2019. Many Lebanese have had their life savings wiped out, with banks restricting access to deposits.

While an IMF bailout is seen as crucial to Lebanon’s recovery, the government has made limited progress on the reforms required to secure the deal.

Experts warn that the refugee crisis, regional tensions, and spillover effects from the war in Gaza are further exacerbating the country’s economic woes.

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