BEIRUT: The World Bank approved this week a new $400 million program to strengthen Lebanon’s economy and create employment opportunities which have been impacted as a result of the Syrian refugee crisis and economic stagnation.
The “Creating Economic Opportunities in Support of the Lebanon National Jobs Program” is comprised of a $70 million grant from the Global Concessional Financial Facility and a $330 million soft loan.
The loan carries a 1.71 percent interest rate over 22 years with a six-year grace period, with the project to be carried out under a “strict set of targeted results in consultation with the Lebanese government.”
“Lebanon is striving to cope with the economic and social impact of the Syria crisis and stimulate inclusive growth that benefits everyone. This can only be achieved through the creation of a favourable business environment for the private sector to grow, create jobs and invest in Lebanon’s rich human capital. This is exactly what this project aims to do,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Regional Director for the Mashreq.
The project is in line with the program submitted by the Lebanese government at the recent CEDRE donor conference in Paris which took place on April 6. During the two-day conference, Lebanese officials garnered over $11 billion to shore up the economy and ailing infrastructure.
“The project supports the Government’s own reform drive to stimulate a competitive business climate. This includes support to the development of PPPs (Public-Private Partnership) in key infrastructure sectors, where increased private sector financing and expertise is essential to the delivery of better quality and more sustainably funded public services,” said Peter Mousley, World Bank Program Leader in the Mashreq region, and Co-Team Leader of the project.
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