Lebanon’s Inability To Pay Its Debt Halts French Development Program

Middle East Eye

A French development agency, which has implemented programs in Lebanon since 1999 to help battle poverty and encourage sustainable development, has allegedly stopped all its activities amid the country’s “inability to pay its debt,” Nidaa al-Watan reported on Wednesday.

According to Naharnet, a French source said that Agence Française De Développement, a public financial institution that implements policies defined by the French Government, “can no longer provide loans to Lebanon which has defaulted on its debt.”

“Agence Française De Développement is similar to international banks that cannot provide loans to a country that has not paid its debt,” added the source.

As it says on the website, AFD has been a partner with Lebanon for over 21 years and has signed over thirty financing agreements for a total amount of almost 1 billion euros.

Water and sanitation, support for the productive sector and urban development are the three traditional areas AFD focuses on.

In 2012, AFD began diversifying its operations, targeting multiple social sectors as well as managing the issues that came to light from the Syrian refugee crisis.

Lebanon today is witnessing an unprecedented economic and financial crisis, coupled with a COVID-19 nation-wide pandemic and the aftermath of a disastrous explosion, all amid a three-week paralysis in the Cabinet formation process.

This negative development comes after Riad Salameh, Governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank said that the Central Bank could not keep subsidies for much longer.

Meanwhile, Salameh himself is being interrogated over wasted subsidies this week.

While on Monday, clashes erupted as citizens protested against lifting subsidies, which the UN has explicitly said will lead to a “social catastrophe.”

The situation in Lebanon remains very difficult, with no ray of hope in sight as the country seems to attract crisis after crisis amid the state’s paralysis.

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