Lebanon's Formal Private Sector: The Bitter Reality of 2020

Since 2019, the Lebanese economy is in free fall, a dramatic situation which was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and last summer’s Beirut Port explosion. A new policy brief entitled "Lebanon’s Formal Private Sector: the Bitter Reality of 2020", issued by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), reveals that the country’s formal private sector sales were reduced by some 45% in 2020 compared with 2019, and that 23% of full-time employees in key sectors were laid off.

According to the brief, the Lebanese economy contracted by 20% in 2020 compared with the previous year, following reductions in private sector activity that slashed the gross domestic product (GDP) and tax revenues, which decreased by 17%. Further contraction is expected in 2021 if the COVID-19 vaccine is not rolled out on time, and the necessary political and economic reforms are not implemented.

The new policy brief follows two previous ones on food security and poverty in Lebanon, as part of a series of impact assessments of COVID-19 undertaken by ESCWA to support Arab Governments in joining efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

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