World Bank ready to support Lebanon, urges quick formation of new government

The World Bank said on Wednesday it stood ready to back a new Lebanese government and warned that the country had no time to waste to fix economic troubles that were becoming worse by the day.

The bank called for the rapid formation of a new cabinet and said it expected a recession in 2019 to be even more significant than an earlier projection of a 0.2% contraction in the economy.

A wave of massive protests against the ruling elite across Lebanon pushed Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign  last week, toppling his coalition cabinet. There has been no sign of progress toward agreeing a new government.

The political turmoil comes as Lebanon grapples with the worst economic and financial strains since the 1975-90 civil war.

The World Bank is among foreign donors who pledged billions of dollars in badly needed aid last year, as long as Lebanon’s government enacts reforms it has long neglected. But with foreign allies not fully convinced, the money has yet to flow into the economy.

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