rate at 57 percent
Study calls for development strategy
Tripoli is suffering from high poverty rates, according to a study published, claiming 57 percent of the population is at or below the poverty line.
The study, carried out by the Ministry of Social Affairs, in cooperation with the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) noted a deterioration of the city’s potential growth, economy, society, culture, and architecture.
“The city has been facing big problems recently and it needs a big development workshop,” said Minister of Social Affairs Rashid Derbas.
The report said that 26 percent of Tripoli’s citizens are highly poor, while 77 percent are facing economic difficulties, 35 percent are suffering from health problems, and 25 percent are not receiving an education.
The study based its results on 12 indices related to households’ economic situations, housing, health and education. Housing indices related to the availability of bedrooms, heating and electricity. The economic situation indices related to the availability of a bank account or a car, among other factors.
Households that failed in more than eight of the 12 indices in the four categories were considered ‘poor’. Households that failed in more than six indices were considered ‘highly poor’.
Poverty is at its worst in the area of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Suwaiqa (87 percent of households), followed by the Old City (75 percent), Al-Quobe and Jabal Mohsen (69 percent), Al-Mina (63 percent), Al-Tal and Zahrieh (36 percent), Basatin Al-Mina (26 percent), and Basatin Trablous (19 percent).
Highly deprived households were located in Bab al-Tabbaneh and Suwaiqa (52 percent), followed by the Old City (36 percent), Al-Mina (28 percent), Al-Quobe and Jabal Mohsen (28 percent), Al-Tal and Zahrieh (11 percent), Basatin Al-Mina (10 percent), and Basatin Trablous (5 percent).
“The city needs a lot of support,” said Luca Renda, UNDP Country Director – Lebanon. “If the necessary measures are not taken, we fear from any increase of problems related to poverty, which may lead to further social conflicts.”
The study urged the need to deal with these results immediately by looking into the reasons and launching the mechanisms to find self-sustainable solutions.
The study suggested three comprehensive ways to meet Tripoli’s needs and capabilities. First, to guarantee security and stability, considered as pre-conditions for any development plan. Second, to launch a dynamic and comprehensive plan that is compatible with the national economy and that would create jobs (especially for youths) and guarantee gender equality and more youth participation. Third, to change the image of the city, develop the values and ethics of its citizens and increase the level of education and skills.
According to the study, the implementation of this project would need a highly professional team that would represent the project management unit, as well as a committee representing all sectors and that can have influence in the city, and political protection from all parties.
“All statistics and studies note that the situation is very bad in Tripoli, but the city has many rich features, including public facilities, geographic locations, and human resources,” said Toufic Dabboussi, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Tripoli and North Lebanon. “We have to specify the weak points and convert them to strong points, which would require all parties, mainly political leaders, to join efforts and set a comprehensive plan for Tripoli.”
Reported by Leila Rahbani
Date Posted: Jan 13, 2015