? Well, it seems like we’ve been playing our cards right because
giving us $200 million to patch up our roads! Aren’t you glad you don’t have to save up for a tank to get around anymore? The international lender stated that the funds would be used to repair around 500 kilometers of roads in the first phase of a broader government plan “to revamp the country’s crumbling road sector”.
Lebanon has approximately 8,000 kilometers of roads, as well as a highway network linking the country with Syria. If you do the math, this investment would cover 6.25% of the roads. There are three key road routes in the country, each radiating from Beirut. To the north is the road to Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city, a route that also passes through such major towns as Jounieh and Jbeil. To the south, you have the road leading to Saida and Tyre. And finally to the East, crossing the Lebanon Mountains is the highway to Damascus, passing through the key town of Chtaura. Lebanon possesses a second north-south road axis running along the length of the Bekaa Valley. Have you been to Chtaura? If the answer is yes, then
that road needs repairing
. I drove up there one night to pick up a friend and vowed never to do it again. On several occasions, I thought I’d see my left tire tumbling away in my rear-view mirror.
According to the World Bank’s Middle East director, Ferid Belhaj, the project would “help Lebanon continue to offer basic services both to its citizens and to Syrian refugees in the country.” Lebanon is home to an estimated 2 million Syrian refugees, which is the equivalent of a half of its own population. Besides the fact that our government is undoubtedly flirting with the World Bank,
why the sudden surge in internationally aided projects?
The truth to the matter is that we were missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance money from the World Bank because we’ve failed to elect a president for over two years. In October, the parliament was finally able to elect Michel Aoun as president, which allows us to get international support.
Contributed by Yahya A. Abbas
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