On Wednesday, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation initiated talks in Beirut to tackle securing funding for crisis-hit Lebanon.
The two-week talks aim to help Lebanon secure the much-needed funding to tackle its harsh economic crisis, with a preliminary deal at least, by the end of the discussions.
This is the 2nd visit by the IMF within two months, with the first resulting in the IMF declaring that more work is needed to secure an aid program, as well as reforms.
“Even if Lebanon and the IMF reach an initial agreement this month, implementation will be a key challenge”, financial analyst Mike Azar, told AFP.
He explained that “reforms will have to be passed and executed before the IMF seeks Board approval for the financing package.”
He added that any future deal can be meaningless without the necessary reforms, sharing his concerns that “the political will to pass a comprehensive… reform package may not be there.”
Lebanon has been having on and off talks with the IMF for two years now, with the political class blocking each time such deals to avoid the reforms necessary to bring Lebanon back to its feet.
The collapse, which started between 2019 and 2020, led to Lebanon’s currency losing more than 80% of its value on the black market, and, according to the United Nations, 4 out of 5 Lebanese now live below the poverty line.
The total collapse was described to be the world’s worst economic meltdown since the 1850s, forcing millions of people in Lebanon to live in poverty.
In February, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva described the country’s situation as “very, very dire” and said that a comprehensive program was required to help Lebanon and the Lebanese people.