Development challenges in Lebanon: the rocky road to reform - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia


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 WDCR and its background papers. The following three principal indices are applied. The development challenges index (DCI), the development inequalities index (DII), and the economic resilience index (ERI).

The results reveal that Lebanon has a high level of development challenges, with a DCI score of 0.451 and a rank of 67 of 159 countries 2021. The country is the second-largest rank loser globally on DCI in the last two decades, with a deterioration of 43 ranks between 2000 and 2021. As for DII, Lebanon displays a medium level of inequalities, with a score of 0.368 and a rank of 84 out of 159 in 2021. Similar to the global case, the progress of Lebanon towards reducing multidimensional inequalities has been sluggish over the past decade, with the country’s score remaining stagnant on DII between 2010 and 2021. The governance pillar constitutes the largest share of DCI and DII, with the governance scores of Lebanon increasing sharply in the last two decades. The country figures among the top 10 highest deteriorations in governance performance globally on DCI between 2000 and 2021, with a slip of 42 ranks. Regarding economic resilience, Lebanon is ranked sixth lowest worldwide on ERI with a score of 0.283, which stems from low financial resilience. 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 country's economy.

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