Lebanon is in the Midst of a Jaw-Dropping Economic Free Fall


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By Global Dispatches and Mark Leon Goldberg. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Lebanon is in the midst of an economic free fall, the degree to which is jaw dropping.

Inflation is out of control, commodities are hard to come by, and its currency is devaluing at a rapid clip. This all was happening months before the coronavirus pandemic. Now, in the midst of the pandemic, a deteriorating economic situation is poised to turn into a major political and social crisis.

This is arguably the worst crisis since Lebanon emerged from a 15 year civil war in 1990.

The government of Lebanon signaled that it would seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. But IMF loans come with conditions and as my guest today Maha Yahya explains, it is entirely unclear right now whether or not the government would be able to accept the kinds of conditions required for an IMF bailout.

Maha Yahya is the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center and I caught up with her from Beirut. We kick off discussing the roots of this economic crisis, which she explains can be traced to the political arrangements that ended the civil war 30 years ago. We then have a broad conversation about the impact this economic crisis is having in a country that is already fragile.


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