Country Listing

Lebanon Table of Contents




A father and son make brass trays in a shop near Tripoli
Courtesy United Nations/Photo by B. Cirone

Reconstruction and Hope, 1976-82

After nineteen months of fighting in 1975 and 1976, reconstruction was necessary but the prospects for reconstruction were seemingly hopeless. The Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) was founded after the war and entrusted with preparing and implementing a comprehensive reconstruction plan. The government gave it authority to negotiate with foreign governments for economic assistance and to implement reconstruction projects or authorize other government agencies to do so. Its creation was a bold step, and the CDR worked hard to honor its mandate.

In December 1978, the CDR produced a US$7.4 billion reconstruction plan, designed to rebuild the country's shattered infrastructure over an 8-year period. The program was to be largely financed by external assistance, with the government providing only 10 to 25 percent of the total. But it was not until November 1979 that the Arab states, at a summit meeting in Tunis, agreed to furnish Lebanon with US$2 billion in aid over a 5-year period.

The CDR produced its first annual work plan, which spelled out the program's implementation schedule. Projected spending for the project in 1980 was just over US$296 million, well below what would be necessary if the entire plan were to be completed within its supposed eight-year time frame. In conformity with Arab donor state wishes, half was earmarked for the south, divided equally between infrastructure development (such as port, road, hospital, and housing repairs) and social projects.

Nevertheless, the CDR was at least able to make a brisk start on reconstruction. At the end of April 1981, it reported that about half of the US$741 million in available funding was being used, with 32.3 percent going for loans to the public sector, 29.1 percent designated as liquid resources for projects being implemented, and 17.3 percent for expenditures on projects under way.

Lebanon was receiving reconstruction aid fairly regularly in 1981, although some donors were behind in some of their disbursements. Other international sources also provided assistance. The United States Agency for International Development (AID) provided approximately US$5.7 million for a variety of projects that year, including technical assistance for the CDR, housing repair grants, housing authority loans, and various health projects. And as far back as October 1980, Lebanon had signed an agreement with the United Nation International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to carry out US$43.5 million of social projects in the south, using reconstruction funds channeled through the CDR. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) also provided around US$4 million worth of reconstruction projects.

Data as of December 1987