One year after the first sovereign default of its history, Lebanon struggles to find a way out of the crisis. On 2nd March, the Lebanese pound collapsed, reaching the record-low of 10,000 to the US dollar on the black market (while the official rate exchange remains around 1,520 to the US dollar). As a result, people took to the streets again, protesting against the economic crisis. On the political side, five months after his appointment, the Prime Minister designated Saad al-Hariri hasn’t succeeded yet in forming a new government, bringing once again the country towards a political deadlock. Against this backdrop, the country is still struggling with skyrocketing Covid-19 infections, while the limited vaccination campaign took off to a bumpy start, amidst investigations of suspected favoritism. Over the last weeks, several countries announced their availability to assist Lebanon in its economic recovery only once a new government is formed.
Can Lebanon find a way out of the impasse? Which kind of consequences will the current social fracture have for the future of the country? How can the international community support a meaningful process of reform?
Joseph Bahout, Director, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, American University of Beirut
Marina Calculli, Lecturer, Leiden University
Randa Slim, Senior Fellow, Middle East Institute, and Non-Resident Fellow, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced and International Studies (SAIS) Foreign Policy Institute
Ugo Tramballi, Senior Advisor, ISPI