France to host international conference on aid to Lebanon

Photo: AP Photo

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and French President Emmanuel Macron will co-host a videoconference today aimed at coordinating international aid efforts for Lebanon, which has been devastated by an ongoing economic crisis and the deadly Beirut port explosion in August.

Macron has already visited Beirut twice in the wake of the blast, which injured more than 6,000 people and left almost 200 dead. However, international efforts to coordinate aid with Lebanese leadership have been severely hindered by crisis in the national government: the cabinet resigned soon after the explosion, which many citizens believe occurred as a result of pervasive official corruption.

Lebanon’s soaring inflation rates and ongoing financial instability mean that any efforts to organise relief in conjunction with its government will likely continue to encounter setbacks. Foreign donors seeking to contribute financial aid requested an audit of Lebanon’s central bank, but restructuring consultancy Alvarez and Marshal withdrew from the audit last week due to a lack of necessary information.

Instead, donors like France may be forced to distribute emergency funds directly to Lebanese nongovernmental organisations rather than coordinating efforts with Beirut, leaving the nascent incoming government with minimal control as the nation seeks to rebuild its economy and infrastructure.

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