The World

This story begins nearly two decades ago at the end of Lebanon’s civil war. this official talks about reconstruction after the civil war and he says we had to do everything at the same time, which cost a lot of money, but also required the government to hire a lot of people. That’s meant more job opportunities over the past two decades but also an inflated bureaucracy and pitifully low salaries for government workers, which in turn has led to an underground services economy. The real problem with Lebanon’s public economy is the debt mainly to banks to fund the rebuilding after the civil war. Lebanon has to spend $4 billion dollars a year, or 10% of its GDP, to cover the interest. Economists suggest debt service should not exceed 3% every year. But meanwhile the private economy is booming. Beirut’s banking system is the main pillar of Lebanon’s private economy. That’s why experts say the international ranking system have evaluated Lebanon incorrectly. This man says the current situation could go on for decades. It does work well for now but the situation is precarious. This official says there are ways out of the current mess.

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