The package announced today includes £15 million support to the Lebanon Host Community Support Programme delivered through the Ministry of Social Affairs and UNDP – targeting the most vulnerable municipalities; a £15 million programme designed in partnership with the government of Lebanon, which will provide support to small businesses; and £10 million of grant financing to create jobs and deliver infrastructure projects.
The UK supports ambitious economic reforms by the government of Lebanon. Momentum behind key reforms could send a strong signal to the private sector that conditions for investment are improving, helping to unlock new, sustainable inflows of productive private sector investment to boost job creation and public service delivery for the benefit of all those in Lebanon.
The UK would also make available to Lebanon £20 million of additional grant support following the establishment of a clear monitoring mechanism and momentum built behind the approval and implementation of key reforms and projects. Overall this could leverage up to £120 million in low interest rate loans.
Speaking in Paris, on the initiation of President Emmanuel Macron, Minister Burt said:
The UK cares deeply about the stability and future prosperity of Lebanon. We recognise the enormity of the challenges faced in the region and the extraordinary strength and resilience of Lebanon, not just in weathering these challenges but in providing, at no small cost, shelter, education, and opportunities to work for so many who have fled appalling violence, fear and destruction.
But today is not solely about the Syria crisis, and this is not a crisis conference. It is something altogether more hopeful – and in some ways at least – more challenging. It is about turning a corner, reinvigorating growth in the economy, and unlocking the immense potential and possibility of the Lebanese people to help the country stand on its own two feet.
The path ahead will not be easy. But the benefits are clear. And the UK – as a strong supporter of Lebanon – remains committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with Lebanon now and into the future.
Mr Burt also called on other donors to follow the UK’s lead and step up their international support to help the government of Lebanon deliver their plans for economic growth and improved support for businesses.
In addition to the substantive security assistance the UK provides to the LAF and ISF, Lebanon is the 2nd highest recipient of UK Aid in the region after Syria, totaling £543 million since 2012. Since 2015 the UK has been supporting projects which enhance economic opportunities for vulnerable Lebanese and refugees, and has provided significant support to Lebanon’s growing Tech and Social Enterprise sectors.