$400 million from the World Bank to create 64,000 jobs in Lebanon

The World Bank has approved a new $400 million project to support the expansion of employment opportunities in Lebanon.

The financial package is expected to create 52,000 permanent jobs and up to 12,000 short-term employment opportunities.

‘Creating Economic Opportunities in Support of the Lebanon National Jobs Program’ initiative will enhance economic opportunities for vulnerable groups, specifically young men and women.

It will provide jobs for Lebanese citizens and temporary employment for Syrian refugees in accordance with existing laws that regulate their presence in the country.

The program is expected to double the number of permanent jobs created per year for youth and women compared to the number of jobs created annually prior to the Syrian conflict, according to Haneen Sayed, World Bank Program Leader for Human Development and Co-Team Leader of the project.

The package comprises a $70 million grant from the Global Concessional Financial Facility, and a $330 million soft loan. The non-grant portion carries an interest rate of 1.7 percent and will be repayable over 22 years, including a six-year grace period.

The disbursement of funds is directly linked to the achievement of a set of targeted results established in consultation with the government.

“The project supports the government’s own reform drive to stimulate a competitive business climate. This includes support to the development of PPPs (Public-Private Partnership) in key infrastructure sectors,” said Peter Mousley, World Bank Program Leader in the Mashreq region, and Co-Team Leader of the project.

The project also aims to support government initiatives to foster the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises through the modernization of relevant services such as customs, which will help exporters, financial sector development, and new products that will increase access to finance for SMEs and start-up entrepreneurs.

The project raises the World Bank’s commitments to Lebanon to $2.3 billion in a mix of grants, concessional financing, and loans.