This Week In Lebanon: 3/19/2022

Saturday, March 19, 2022



March 19, 2022

UN Secretary-General Stresses Impact of Russian-Ukrainian War on Globe, Lebanon
During a recent brief the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated that Russia and Ukraine supply more than half of the world with sunflower oil and “about 30 percent of the world’s wheat”, adding that  45 African and developed countries import 1/3 of their wheat from both countries. Egypt, Congo, Burkina Faso, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Lebanon all import 50% of their wheat supply from Ukraine or Russia. According to The 961, “Lebanon is now negotiating with India and Turkey, as well as with the U.S. to find sources for wheat to prevent a food crisis in its country that has.” [The961]


“The crisis in Ukraine will not only affect Lebanese imports of wheat. Rising fuel and inflation rates make it more difficult to reach a deal with the IMF as these increases will adversely affect existing economic assumptions in any IMF negotiation. The government is running out of money and every dollar they spend now will be a dollar not going to bank depositors. It is vital to conclude an agreement with the IMF before the elections in order to avoid further calamity and to speed up the implementation of an IMF program with a new parliament and government after the election.”

-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel

Lebanon Was Declared An Electoral Autocracy By V-Dem Report 2022
In the V-Dem Democracy Index, Lebanon’s democratic ranking decreased in 2022. Out of 202 countries who were studied, Lebanon ranked 103rd in the Liberal Democracy Index, 99th in the Electoral Democracy Index,113th in Liberal Component Index Similarly, and 116th in the Egalitarian Component Index. Similarly, The Economist, which once ranked Lebanon as a Hybrid Regime in 2020, classified Lebanon as an Authoritarian Regime in 2020. [The 961]

“Once again, political and social indicators reinforce the assessment of Lebanon as a state in peril, as rule of law is cast aside for personal and network enrichment. Lebanon’s democracy, such as it is, continues to be eroded by political and economic elites who work together to prevent the adoption of changes that will double the existing power supply, clean up the water supply, and reform other essential services. One wonders if any of the traditional political parties will offer anything other than more of the same in the upcoming election as there is no shortage of issues, just a lack of vision.”

-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader

Lebanon Just Announced Cash Transfers to ‘Extremely Poor’ Lebanese Households
On Monday, the Lebanese government announced a cash transfer program, known as the AMAN program, for households in extreme poverty. The program, which is financed by the World Bank, will provide 680,000 individuals with a monthly transfer of $20 per household member (which maxes out at six persons) and a $25 flat household rate. The AMAN program will also provide schooling fees for up to 87,000 children to prevent school dropouts. [The 961]


“The Lebanese government simply cannot continue to rely on international assistance to replace its responsibilities to the people. The latest assistance programs only strengthen the need for the government to take decisive action to consolidate the exchange rate to counter inflation and the devaluation of the currency. Only a stable and reliable lira will bring some confidence to the marketplace and give the country a sense of what their future economic prospects are with credible and far-reaching reforms in place.”

-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.