BEIRUT: After meeting with the World Bank’s vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, Shadi Karam, economic adviser to President Michel Sleiman, stressed the importance of the bank in helping Lebanon mitigate the impact of the Syrian crisis.
Sleiman and Inger Andersen met Thursday at Baabda Palace to discuss the role of the World Bank in raising funds to alleviate the growing burden of more than 1 million Syrian refugees.
Karam praised the World Bank’s assistance in setting up adequate mechanisms for financing and implementing humanitarian assistance in a transparent and efficient manner.
The World Bank issued a report last month warning of drastic consequences for Lebanon in the face of the continued civil war in Syria, estimating the cost of simply restoring health, education and social safety nets in the country to preconflict levels at $1.5 billion.
However, international aid has been slow to flow to the struggling country.
The World Bank has been working with Lebanon to build the necessary safeguards to attract increased aid. Karam said this effort was key in order to build international confidence and motivate potential donors.
Karam also stressed the importance of maintaining support inside Lebanon for the president’s efforts, saying that “it was essential to maintain a continuous political bulwark to buttress the economic and financial facets of the aid crisis.”
“Beyond the studies, the figures and the technicalities, the whole edifice hinges on our capability to build and maintain a comprehensive, indispensablepolitical platform to keep institutions ... stitched together in the middle of all the conflicting strains,” Karam said.