Demonstrators hold Lebanese flags as they gather during a protest over the deteriorating economic situation, in Beirut, Lebanon on 18 October, 2019. (Photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir)
A report published by the World Bank on 25 January says Lebanon’s elite are largely to blame for the dire economic crisis the country has been going through since 2019.
The scathing report specifies that while many factors triggered the crisis, the ruling elite’s ”exploitative grip on resources” significantly contributed to the economic meltdown, considered one of the worst the world has witnessed in more than one hundred and seventy years.
“Lebanon’s deliberate depression is orchestrated by the country’s elite that has long captured the state and lived off its economic rents,” stated a World Bank press release that accompanied the report.
The bank also highlighted that despite the deepening economic crisis, Lebanon’s elite has continued its parasitic tendencies.
The global lender painted a gloomy picture indicating that the Lebanese economy will remain in free fall throughout 2022, with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expected to contract by 10.5 percent.
The bank expressed regret that the poor and middle class will continue to carry the burden of the crisis, despite the fact that they played no role in creating it.
According to the report, more people are expected to fall below the poverty line in 2022.
The World Bank said the number of Lebanese citizens living below the poverty line increased by nearly 30 percent in 2021.
Over the last few years Lebanon has been going through a severe economic crisis. Between 2019 and 2021, the country’s GDP shrank by 58.1 percent while the value of the Lebanese lira has depreciated by more than 90 percent, eroding the value of wages, savings, and pensions.
The depreciation of the lira has also pushed the prices of most basic commodities and services, such as medicine, food, and rent, out of the reach of the majority of citizens.
Attempts by the country to access an economic recovery package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have so far been unsuccessful due to a failure by the government, commercial banks, and the central bank to agree on the terms of the package.