Can Lebanon come back from the brink? | Poverty & Development

On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, at 19:30 GMT:
“Lebanon’s finished,” That’s the prevailing sentiment among many residents in this nation these days, as it grapples with the worst economic crisis in its history.

Today, nearly half of Lebanon’s six million people live below the poverty line. More than a third of the working population is unemployed, and the nation’s currency has lost 60 percent of its value against the United States dollar.

The situation has spiralled since March when the country defaulted on foreign debt for the first time.

Protests over the fallout of the financial collapse were briefly put on hold by a months-long lockdown that has succeeded in curbing the number of cases of the coronavirus within the country.

But demonstrations are flaring up again because the pandemic has made it harder for people to afford basic items like food and clothing. Armed soldiers and angry protesters alike have been complaining about hunger and pay cuts.

Some of the hardest-hit residents are Lebanon’s domestic workers. Already among the most vulnerable members of society, many nannies, construction workers and rubbish collectors have lost their jobs or gone unpaid for months.

In April, Lebanon’s newest set of leaders proposed a “recovery plan” to woo international aid. But analysts warn that there are no easy fixes for decades of corruption, sectarianism and complicated geopolitics.

In this episode we ask: Can Lebanon come back from the brink? Join the conversation.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Kareem Chehayeb, @chehayebk
Non-resident fellow, The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy

Timour Azhari, @timourazhari
Correspondent, Al Jazeera

Rahaf Dandash, @rahafdandash
Protester and activist

Read more:
Who is to blame for Lebanon’s crisis? – Al Jazeera
‘Like a drug deal’: Inside Lebanon’s black market currency trade – Al Jazeera
We fear hunger, not coronavirus: Lebanon protesters return in rage – the guardian
Lebanon’s migrant workers’ plight worsens as crises multiply – The Associated Press news agency

Source: Al Jazeera

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