Development challenges in Lebanon: the rocky road to reform

ESCWA Publication: E/ESCWA/CL6.GCP/2023/CP.4

Country: Lebanese Republic

Publication Type: Working papers

Cluster: Governance and Conflict Prevention

Focus Area: Governance & enabling environment, Resilient development & conflict prevention

Initiatives: Development challenges, Governance and institution building

SDGs: Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, Goal 12: Responsible Production and Consumption, Goal 13: Climate Action

Keywords: Social development, Economic development, Gross domestic product, Public expenditures, Inflation, Employment, Foreign exchange rates, Sustainable development, Human development, Governance, Covid-19, Life expectancy, Climate change, Environmental health, Education, Income distribution, Public debt, Imports, Resilience, Statistical data, Lebanon, Recovery

Development challenges in Lebanon: the rocky road to reform

November 2023

The present paper assesses the long-term socioeconomic development of Lebanon in the following three areas: human development challenges, inequalities and economic resilience. The applied metrics are drawn from the World Development Challenges Report and its background papers. The following three principal indices are applied: The development challenges index, the development inequalities index, and the economic resilience index.

The results reveal that Lebanon has a high level of development challenges. The country is the second-largest rank loser globally on the development challenges index in the last two decades, with a deterioration of 43 ranks between 2000 and 2021. As for the development inequalities index, Lebanon displays a medium level of inequalities. The country figures among the top 10 highest deteriorations in governance performance globally on the development challenges index between 2000 and 2021. Regarding economic resilience, Lebanon is ranked sixth lowest worldwide on the economic resilience index. The country’s debt resilience index and rating index are second to last globally. The path to recovery for Lebanon requires more than just financial aid, it demands a comprehensive governance overhaul. International support combined with good governance, through increased public sector effectiveness and improved transparency and accountability, is the main pathway towards rebuilding the economy.

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