President calls on expatriates to help save Lebanon

The financial meltdown has snowballed in recent weeks as citizens have faced critical fuel, medicine, and essential good shortages, alongside the free fall of the Lebanese pound

  
Lebanon's President Michel Aoun speaks during a news conference at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon October 21, 2020. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun speaks during a news conference at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon October 21, 2020. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun Tuesday called on the Lebanese diaspora to help rescue the country from its dire economic state and to offer respite to affected citizens, a statement from the president’s office said.

Asking for firmer trade relations between Lebanon and the country’s diaspora, Aoun said during a meeting with the Lebanese-Zimbabwean Friendship Association at Baabda Palace that better cooperation could help revive the economy, and the recovery of the Lebanese pound.

"Aoun emphasized the importance of the role of the Lebanese in the diaspora, to help restore Lebanese economic recovery and limit the repercussions of the current situation on citizens who face daily difficulties," the statement read.

During the meeting, Aoun also spoke about the importance of developing relations and trade with Zimbabwe, particularly considering Lebanon's financial downturn.

Commenting on the economic situation, Aoun said, “This crisis is part of the heavy legacy which we inherited from previous eras and as a result of the accumulation of crises which began with the huge state debts that resulted from corruption, waste of public funds, and mismanagement.” He said the crisis intensified as a result of the collective impact of the Syrian displacement, the October 2019 demonstrations, the COVID-19 outbreak, and the Beirut Port explosion.

The financial meltdown has snowballed in recent weeks as citizens have faced critical fuel, medicine, and essential good shortages, alongside the free fall of the Lebanese pound which has lost 15 percent of its value in June alone.

Lebanon has been facing what the World Bank called one of the worst economic and financial crises since the mid-19th century. After a thorough examination of the crisis, the World Bank report concluded that Lebanon's crisis is in the top 10, plummeting toward top three most grave global crises.

Aoun added: “The burden is too great for a small country like Lebanon. A country whose economy is poor in production, and a country whose national currency was supported by increasing debts, while it would have been more useful to support the Lebanese pound by increasing national production."

With approximately 14 million individuals of Lebanese descent living outside the country, the diaspora has historically acted as a major source of support to the country's economy through dollar remittances.

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