World Bank raises US$295 million to support Lebanon’s Transport to improve Mobility, spur Growth

The World Bank has approved US$295 million package ushering in the overhaul of Lebanon’s decaying transport sector and securing employment for thousands of unskilled Lebanese and Syrian workers. The project will be financed by a US$225.2 million loan while the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) is contributing another US$69.8 million on a grant basis.

The GCFF provides low- or no-interest financing packages to middle-income countries whose economies are strained by refugee inflows. The loan will be paid over 31.5 years, including an eight-year grace period.

GBPTP is the first project to benefit from a newly approved Public-Private Partnership law that aims to attract private investments in infrastructure to ease the financial burdens of a government struggling with high public debt and fiscal imbalances. It is in line with the World Bank Group’s own drive for Maximizing Financing for Development (MFD) in member countries, especially those under economic and financial duress.

World Bank Regional Director for the Mashreq, Saroj Kumar Jha said, “Lebanon needs to mobilize private investment to stimulate its economy and create jobs while also developing its much-needed infrastructure. Poor transport connectivity exacerbates the already problematic inequitable growth between Beirut and hinterland regions. It hinders access to employment and services for the poor and other vulnerable groups.”

The project is expected to create two million labor days in construction jobs for low-income Lebanese and Syrians which represents the first phase of an ambitious national public transport program. It is expected to attract about 300,000 passengers per day and halve the commuting time between Beirut and its northern suburbs. GBPTP is likely to be followed by additional phases covering the southern and eastern entrances to Beirut.

The new financing raises the total value of World Bank commitments to Lebanon to US$1.7 billion.

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