In this episode of FO° Podcasts, Fair Observer’s Editor-in-Chief Atul Singh is joined by Jean AbiNader, a veteran expert on the Middle East and a Lebanese American who is closely connected to his ancestral land to analyze Lebanon’s endangered economy and political instability.
Jean AbiNader was born in Lebanon and has spent the last 40 years traveling and working in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. He has worked in marketing, public affairs, and project management. AbiNader has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the MENA region.
AbiNader paints a dire picture of Lebanon’s current problems. He makes sense of Lebanon’s gutted and struggling economy, entrenched government corruption, identity politics and instability.
For nearly three years, Lebanon has suffered the most devastating, multi-pronged crisis in its modern history. The unfolding economic and financial crisis started in October 2019. COVID-19 and the 2022 explosion in the Beirut port exacerbated this crisis.
The World Bank’s Spring 2021 Lebanon Economic Monitor found that Lebanon’s crisis ranks among the worst economic crises since the mid-19th century. Nominal GDP plummeted from $52 billion in 2019 to $23.1 billion in 2021. The GDP per capita fell by 36.5%. Incomes fell and jobs vanished.
Lebanon was an upper middle-income country despite the ethnic conflict and the refugee burden. In July 2022, the World Bank reclassified it as a lower-middle income country. Such a brutal contraction is usually associated with conflicts or wars.
AbiNader makes sense of Lebanon’s crisis, examines why things have come to such a pass and posits solutions for the future.
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