Last August, a massive chemical explosion killed 200 people, injured thousands, and destroyed entire neighborhoods in the Lebanese capital. The disaster added to the turmoil of the country, which is already suffering from the deepest political and economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
According to two diplomatic sources, Germany and France are fighting to control the reconstruction plans. Berlin will explain its proposal on April 7, which diplomats say will in principle receive support from the European Investment Bank (EIB). EIB financing can range from 2 billion euros to 3 billion euros.
The German ambassador to Lebanon confirmed that a proposal would be submitted next week to redevelop the port of Beirut and the surrounding areas. The plan was drawn up by several private companies that will explain it in Beirut.
But first, Lebanon’s political elite must agree to form a new government to regulate public finances and fight corruption. This is the condition that lenders, including the International Monetary Fund, pay before releasing billions of dollars in aid.
Eight months after the port disaster, many Lebanese who lost their families, homes and businesses are still awaiting the results of the investigation into the cause of the explosion. Lebanon is on the verge of collapse. Shoppers are fighting for goods and protesters are blocking roads and businesses shuttered.
Foreign lenders said the new government should have a strong mandate to implement economic reforms. Then, in addition to reviewing the central bank, it also involves an overhaul of the wasted energy sector. Germany and France would also like to see a government committed to reform first. This will be the only way, and it is also beneficial for Lebanon, according to the initiators.
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