The World Bank: Lebanon is in danger of collapse, and politicians must stop and listen

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The World Bank has warned that Lebanon is at risk of “collapse” unless it develops a less corrupt and transparent management model than the regime in place today.

Farid Belhadj, the World Bank’s chief official for the Middle East and North Africa, said in an interview with TV Bloomberg: “Politicians need to stop and listen. You cannot continue doing what you’ve been doing for years when you see what the reaction is on the street, and when you see what the economy is like.”

He added, “We hope that the new government will be able to tackle long-outstanding issues. Improving electricity supplies, liberalizing the telecommunications sector and reforming education are all necessary.”

Lebanon has seen protests since October, forcing the then Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, to step down, due to the deteriorating economic situation. The new government, headed by Hassan Diab, has requested technical assistance from the International Monetary Fund on how to deal with the debt burden.

For its part, the Director General of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, said in a separate interview with the TV, that the fund, which has already decided to send a team to Lebanon, will consider the possibility of providing financial aid if it is confirmed that the government’s approach is serious.

The Lebanese government’s debt exceeds 150% of GDP, and politicians are still debating whether it is possible to repay the $ 1.2 billion that is due on the ninth of next month.

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