BTI Lebanon

Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI)

BTI | Lebanon Country Report

The BTI results from an international analytical collaboration of almost 300 experts in top academic institutions around the world and local reporters in most countries. They all share the goal to detect strengths and weaknesses by comparison and to find good examples for successful political steering. A project of this magnitude could never succeed without their expertise, enthusiasm, creativity and attention to detail.

2018: Rank 74 (out of 129 countries)
> BTI Lebanon

Level of Socioeconomic Development

Poverty is the most pressing of Lebanon’s many socioeconomic barriers. World Bank 2014 data listed 1.2 million (nearly 27% of the total population) as poor, living on less than $4 a day. Among these, 300,000 (7% of population) are extremely poor, living on less than $2.40 per day. Data on inequality is not available. However, differences between the large proportion of poor, and the small proportion of super rich and politically influential are extreme. Luxury urban areas, such as central Beirut, contrast sharply with the underdeveloped suburbs and countryside. The urbanization rate, which was 87.5% in 2013, is increasing by 1% per year.

The 2014 Human Development Index ranked Lebanon 65 out 187 countries globally and eighth among Arab countries. Life expectancy at birth is the highest among Arab countries (80 years). The ILO estimated a relatively low unemployment rate of 6.5% for 2014. However, youth unemployment (ages 15-24) reached 21.7% in 2014, up from 19.9% in 2012. The majority of employment is in the service sector (72.6%), only a minor part in industry (21%, 2009). About 44% of the total population over 15 years is in employment (2014), of which a share of roughly 40% is self-employed. While 70.9% of men aged over 15 participate in the labor market, only 23.3% of women over 15 participate. Though the proportion of women participating in the labor market is increasing.

The share of primary school enrollment rose to 93.2% in 2012. However, enrollment in secondary education (67.5%) and tertiary education (46.2%) has been in slight decline. Female students outnumber male students in secondary (100.8%) and tertiary (107.4%) education, but not primary education (91.4%).

The Syrian refugees (1.2 million registered with UNHCR) put pressure on these data. The World Bank estimated the related economic and social cost at over $7.5 billion by the end of 2014. However, this report fails to disaggregate the general effect of the Syrian conflict regionally, which has had serious repercussions on Lebanon’s exports and trade, from the actual impact of the Syrian refugee crisis within Lebanon. Poverty has been exacerbated through the increasing demands for services, infrastructure and employment. UNHCR indicates that most refugees tend to settle in Lebanon’s poorest areas. However, it is merely speculative to claim that the refugees are responsible for a presumed increase in poverty, the problem of poverty predates the beginning of the crisis. Furthermore, the refugee crisis has attracted a significant amount of international aid directed to host communities. The 2015-2016 Lebanon Crisis Response Plan forecasted a total budget of $2.6 billion, the funding requirement for 2016 only was $1.9 billion and 55% of the budget has been disbursed.

The Palestinian population living in refugee camps in Lebanon is subject to harsh discrimination. Palestinian refugees do not enjoy the right to work in skilled sectors and their quality of life, including freedom of movement, and access to education and health care services, is often severely constrained.