As part of the efforts made by caretaker prime minister Saad Hariri to address the shortage of liquidity and secure basic import requirements for citizens, his office announced on Friday that Hariri has requested aid from friendly countries to help Lebanon secure imports of food and raw materials amid an economic and financial crisis that caused import crisis.
The appeal for aid, and according to caretaker Hariri’s office, was addressed to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
He asked those countries to assist Lebanon in securing import credits “to ensure the continuity of food security and raw materials for the production of various sectors.”
As a result, France responded to Hariri’s request by sending out invitations to a meeting in Paris of an international support group for Lebanon on December 11 to mobilize assistance for the country. The Lebanese official said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were expected to be invited.
Lebanon is now witnessing economic and financial crisis which is said to be the worst since its 1975-1990 civil war with zero economic growth, massive debt, and shortage in fuel, medicines, and wheat. That in addition to local banks imposing unprecedented capital controls and thousands of employees have been either laid off or had their salaries slashed.
These crises got even worse after the protests in Lebanon erupted on October 17 leading to the resignation of Hariri’s government two weeks later and to different crises on all levels in all sectors in the country.
Lebanon’s basic needs are mainly imported from outside, including wheat, petrol, and medicine, which leads to a huge trade deficit. Importers have been facing difficulties in getting U.S. dollars to cover imports as the local currency, which has been pegged to the dollar since 1997, lost 40% of its value on the black market.
President Michel Aoun held a meeting a few days ago with international investment bankers. He stated that dealing with the economic and financial crisis will be the priority of the new government, which is set to be formed next week.