Lebanon Businessnews News

Poverty hits
half the population
Extreme poverty reaches 23 percent
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The poverty rate is expected to have surged to 55 percent in May 2020 (equivalent to 2.7 million people) from 28 percent in 2019 according to ‘Poverty in Lebanon’, a recent policy brief published by ESCWA, a UN organization.

The rate of those in extreme poverty increased to 23 percent (1.1 million people) from eight percent.

The increase was recorded prior to the increase in COVID-19 cases and the August explosion at the Port of Beirut.

The policy brief has estimated that the middle-income group, which represents the bulk of the country’s human capital, has contracted from over 57 per cent of the population in 2019 to less than 40 per cent in 2020.

The affluent group has declined from 15 percent to five percent of the population.

“The headcount poverty and vulnerability rates are expected to increase further as a result of rising inflation and the impact of the Beirut Port explosion, particularly affecting incomes and food availability and prices. Few in Lebanon will be spared the negative consequences of these multiple overlapping shocks,” ESCWA said.

The report has projected a drop in the top ten percent of adults which owned 70 per cent, or $151 billion, of all estimated personal wealth ($232.2 billion) in the country in 2019. It said that the top decile is projected to hold $91 billion of wealth, a 40 percent drop year-on-year as a result of the banking crisis, the associated restrictions on access to financial wealth, and the expected reduction in the value of high-end land, real-estate property and natural resources, which are represented heavily in the portfolios of the wealthiest nationals. The Beirut Port explosion further diminishes business and individual holdings of real estate and other capital, and their capacity for trading and economic activity.

The income threshold for poverty rate level is at $8.6 per day and extreme poverty at $5.7 per day.
Date Posted: Aug 24, 2020
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