Lebanon: reconstruction of Beirut will cost 2.5 billion dollars

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Institutional donors on Friday, December 4, 2020 unveiled a plan to rebuild Beirut and help its population after the explosion at the port in early August that killed more than 200 people, estimating $ 2.5 billion over eighteen months. funds needed. The “reform, recovery and reconstruction” or “3RF framework” plan was designed by the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank. It is a roadmap to help the most vulnerable through international grants and to guide reconstruction funds, in parallel with far-reaching reforms.

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The explosion was triggered by a fire in a warehouse housing, according to the authorities, tons of ammonium nitrate without precaution. The tragedy also left more than 6,500 injured and devastated entire neighborhoods. The “priority needs” concerning the population “amount to 584 million dollars (about 480 million euros), of which 426 million are expected in the first year”, according to the report on the “3RF framework” published on Friday. The costs of reform and reconstruction “are estimated at $ 2 billion” (around 1.6 billion euros).

A plan subject to conditions

But the three bodies have warned that international support for the reconstruction of the Lebanese capital would depend “on credible progress in terms of reforms that the government can put forward”. These efforts should relate in particular to “the audit (…) of the central bank, reform of the banking sector, capital controls and the unification of the exchange rate”, or even the definition of a “trajectory credible and sustainable towards fiscal sustainability ”. “Progress on these reforms will be fundamental in order to allow the mobilization of private financing or public loans (…) important for the implementation of major reconstruction projects”, they noted.

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The institutional trio drew up a long list of urgent measures, including a “transparent investigation” to determine the causes of the explosion of August 4 and the promulgation of a “port law governing the operations of the port authority as well as the customs ”. An investigation by Lebanese authorities resulted in the arrest of 25 people, including port and customs officials, but no findings have been released at this stage. Lebanon has been stuck for over a year in a deep economic, social and political crisis. In addition to a historic depreciation of its currency and hyperinflation, the country has been without a government for more than three months.

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