In the period from 2019 to 2022, Lebanon faced an unprecedented confluence of crises that tested the resilience of its people and the stability of its economy. This tumultuous period unfolded against the backdrop of the global pandemic, the devastating explosion at the Beirut port, and an already fragile political and economic landscape.
In 2019, Lebanon was already grappling with economic challenges, a weakening currency, and public discontent. Little did the nation know that a series of events would unfold, further exacerbating its struggles.
The Economic Downturn:The year 2019 witnessed a decline in Lebanon’s GDP growth, driven by a combination of economic mismanagement, political instability, and a growing public debt. The situation worsened in 2020 as the global COVID-19 pandemic took hold. The pandemic not only strained healthcare systems but also disrupted global supply chains, affecting trade and exacerbating Lebanon’s economic woes.
The Impact of COVID-19:As COVID-19 spread globally, Lebanon, like many nations, implemented strict lockdowns to curb the virus’s spread. However, these measures had a significant economic toll, particularly on sectors such as tourism, hospitality, and services. Unemployment rates surged as businesses struggled to stay afloat in the face of lockdowns and reduced consumer spending.
The Beirut Port Explosion:August 4, 2020, marked a tragic turning point for Lebanon. The explosion at the Beirut port sent shockwaves through the country, causing widespread devastation and loss of life. Beyond the immediate human toll, the explosion dealt a severe blow to the economy. The port, a vital economic hub, was decimated, disrupting trade and further straining an already fragile economy.
The Unemployment Crisis:As the GDP contracted, the unemployment rates, meticulously depicted in our Tableau visualizations, soared. The economic downturn, compounded by the pandemic and the port explosion, left countless Lebanese citizens without jobs. The barchart vividly illustrates the gender-specific impact, showcasing the challenges faced by both males and females in this turbulent period.
Yet, in adversity lies the opportunity for resilience and recovery. As we examine the line chart depicting GDP growth, a glimmer of hope emerges. The chart illustrates a gradual increase in GDP in 2021, signaling a potential comeback.
To foster this recovery and bolster Lebanon’s economy, a multi-faceted approach is essential. Some potential solutions include:
Economic Reforms: Implement comprehensive economic reforms to address fiscal challenges, improve governance, and attract foreign investment.
Infrastructure Investment: Focus on rebuilding and modernizing infrastructure, including the reconstruction of the Beirut port, to stimulate economic activity and enhance trade capabilities.
Support for Small Businesses: Provide targeted support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to encourage entrepreneurship, create jobs, and revitalize local economies.
International Aid and Collaboration: Seek international aid and collaborate with the global community to access financial assistance, technical expertise, and humanitarian support.
Healthcare Investment: Invest in the healthcare sector to strengthen the country’s resilience to health crises, fostering a healthier workforce and more robust economic conditions.
As Lebanon charts its course towards recovery, these solutions offer a roadmap for rebuilding and fostering sustainable development. The line chart becomes a symbol of resilience, capturing not only the challenges faced but also the potential for renewal and progress.
Resilience and Hope:Despite these challenges, the people of Lebanon exhibited remarkable resilience. Communities came together to support one another, and NGOs and international aid played a crucial role in providing relief. The visual representation of GDP decline and rising unemployment underscores the urgency of addressing the socioeconomic impacts of crises.
Lebanon’s journey through these challenging years serves as a testament to the strength of its people. While the road to recovery is long and arduous, the collective spirit and determination of the Lebanese offer a glimmer of hope for a brighter future.
A world where economic diversification is often seen as the path to financial stability, Lebanon stands out as a nation that has primarily relied on non-agricultural sectors for its economic sustenance. Despite its rich agricultural potential, the country has chosen to prioritize other industries. As Lebanon grapples with a severe economic crisis, it’s crucial to examine the consequences of this strategy and consider whether a renewed focus on agriculture could offer a more resilient path forward.
The main problem Lebanon is currently facing!
Lebanon is currently not placing sufficient emphasis on the agriculture and aquaculture sectors as potential revenue sources.
This neglect comes at a time of economic hardship, marked by a consistent decline in GDP over the years.
Despite the presence of fertile land for agriculture and planting, there is a notable absence of qualified and active employees in this sector, as evidenced by the consistent decline in the percentage of the workforce engaged in agriculture over the years. (the percentage decreases from 5.3%in 2000 to 3.8% in 2021 low percentage of the total employment)
the contributions of forestry and aquaculture to the GDP have been on a continuous decline. (The percentage decreased from 6.3% in 2000 to 1.4% in 2021, indicating a relatively low contribution)
Lebanon’s GDP growth has been consistently decreasing over the years, reaching a troubling -7% in 2021.
Placing greater emphasis on the agriculture and aquaculture sectors by providing support to local farmers and expanding cultivation areas to meet domestic demands while also generating surplus for export.
Additionally, increasing the number of professionals in this field can be achieved by encouraging universities to prioritize agriculture-related majors and motivating students to pursue studies in this area.
This will result in:
Increased revenue generation and improvements in Lebanon’s GDP after expanding cultivation areas and supporting the agriculture and aquaculture sectors.
Real life success story:
In the summer of 2023, two Lebanese citizens seized the opportunity to cultivate a green, organic farm in the fertile lands of southern Lebanon. Taking advantage of the region’s fertile soil, expansive agricultural land, and favorable weather conditions, they cultivated a variety of fruits and vegetables.
With an initial investment of $1,500, they managed to yield a net profit of $5,000 in just four months. This success story highlights the untapped potential of agriculture and organic farming in Lebanon.
The successful cultivation they were able to get!!!
This solution is validated by the real case example presented at the beginning:
Based on the real-life example, if Lebanon gave more importance to the agriculture sector, this would lead to an increase in domestic production. This, in turn, could serve as a partial solution to the economic and financial crisis the country is facing. Moreover, it would also create more employment opportunities for Lebanese citizens, thereby contributing to a more sustainable and diversified economy. Emphasizing the agriculture sector can play a vital role in bolstering the nation’s economic stability and reducing its reliance on other sectors.
finally, emphasizing agriculture in Lebanon as a means of economic revitalization directly supports SDG 8’s objectives by creating decent work, fostering sustainable economic growth, promoting economic diversification, and facilitating skills development in the agricultural sector.
In the intricate tapestry of a nation’s prosperity, nothing weaves a more profound impact than the state of its healthcare system. The vitality of its citizens, the resilience of its communities, and the promise of a prosperous future all hinge on the health and wellness of the population. A healthy population is a productive one, as it reduces absenteeism, increases workforce efficiency, and stimulates economic growth.
Yet, as we embark on this journey through the labyrinth of healthcare, one question looms above all: How can we chart the course to assess and improve a country’s medical system, ensuring a brighter, healthier tomorrow for all? Evaluating the medical system of a nation is a complex endeavor that requires a comprehensive approach to several factors we will delve deeper into later.
One indicator that may be used to assess the effectiveness of the medical industry is the mortality rate. From the data provided by World Development Index, countries with high death rates, such as the Central African Republic, Niger, South Sudan, and many others, have poor healthcare systems, as seen in the visual below:
Furthermore, there exists a strong correlation between CVDs, cancer, diabetes and other illnesses that significantly impacted the mortality rate indication for both males and females. This implies that countries experience high mortality rates due to the increasing rates of the above-mentioned illnesses and diseases. Also, an implication of the absence of some healthcare services such as a lack of efficient medical professionals may be valid as well in such a case.
As a matter of fact, the presence of medical professionals that can assist society and offer health care is one of the most important measures of how well the medical sector is doing. Therefore, one potential solution is enhancing the availability of medical professionals that are prone to doing their job effectively.
There exists a weak correlation between the availability of nurses and midwives and the increasing rates of mortality. This is because an effective team of well-experienced nurses and midwives can strongly lead to a decrease in the number of deaths per hospital. The top 5 nations with the highest mortality rates also have the lowest number of nurses and midwives.
Another potential solution involves increasing expenditures in the healthcare field to gain access to more promising and efficient results. In order to improve the health of their medical industry, the nations with greater rates of mortality have to gain insight from the experience of those with developed healthcare systems, where a significant percentage of the more developed countries’ expenses goes to health expenditures (ex: United States, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway etc.) Higher expenditure on healthcare implies higher expenditure on more enhanced medical professionals whose primary role is to save the day by decreasing mortality rates. Moreover, we can see that while less developed nations such as South Sudan and many others have far greater mortality rates (as discussed earlier), they almost all have a lower number of health expenditures too.
Countries with high mortality rates should prioritize expanding their nurse and midwife workforce. This can be achieved through targeted recruitment, better training opportunities, and incentives to retain experienced healthcare professionals. In nations with a scarcity of healthcare workers, it is crucial to consider redistributing them from regions with surplus staff to areas with greater need. This can help ensure more equitable access to healthcare services and reduce mortality disparities.
Also, the observation that less developed nations with higher mortality rates also have lower health expenditures highlights the need for increased investment in healthcare infrastructure, training, and resources. Adequate funding can have a significant impact on healthcare accessibility and quality.
In conclusion, the state of a nation’s healthcare system is a complex web created by several kinds of variables. According to the results of our investigation, nurses and midwives are vital in determining healthcare outcomes, and there seems to be a link between their availability and death rates. Key suggestions to improve patient care and results included strengthening the healthcare workforce through recruiting, skill development, and equitable distribution.
Furthermore, the evidence indicated a clear link between less health expenditures and higher mortality rates in several less developed nations. This emphasizes the urgent need for increased funding and resources to bridge healthcare disparities and improve the well-being of vulnerable populations.
As we journey towards a brighter future, let us remember that the path to a thriving medical system lies in unity, innovation, and data-informed decision-making.
Fatou is a 27-year-old housewife. At 15 years old, she decided to quit her education to get married to the love of her life, a man 8 years older than her, who had promised her a wealthy life in which she wouldn’t worry about a thing.
A few years into her marriage, her husband wasn’t doing well financially, and she found herself financially abused by him. All the promises went into vain and she was there begging for a penny to get the most basic goods she needed. Looking at herself, she found herself with no knowledge or skills to help her stand on her feet. With no education to support her, she felt like all the doors were shut, and her only salvation was her husband, who in turn belittled her for always being dependent on him, noting that it had been himself who stopped her from being an achiever.
This is not only the story of Fatou, but also that of millions of women living in disparity because they couldn’t be self-sufficient and independent. This story is yet another example of what the SDGs tackle, like Reduced Inequalities, among others as Quality Education and Gender Equality.
The contribution of women in the society decreases early marriage, and early marriage is linked to low education.
The graph shows the countries with the highest number of women who were first married by age of 15.
The top 3 countries with the highest number of women who were early married are Niger with 37.37% , Bangladesh with 32% and Chad with 29.25%.
Moreover, 76% of girls in Niger are married before their 18th birthday and 28% are married before the age of 15. Niger has the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world and the 13th highest absolute number of women married or in a union before the age of 18 globally – 745,000.
As a result, Awareness campaigns must be done to limit early marriage, and impose laws on marriage before 18.
In the time it has taken to read this article 39 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
FROM “Man up, you can’t be depressed just because this happened!” TO “Why are you looking so sad and tired? Are you depressed? You can talk to me if you want..”
To begin with, according to the World Bank dataset on development indicators, it is clear that men’s average suicide mortality rate is significantly higher than females.
Surprisingly, males are three times more suicidal than females, reaching an average of 14.3 male suicides per 100,000 males, while 4.4 female suicides per 100,000 females.
But why is this the case?
While comparing countries with high unemployment rates and countries with low unemployment rates, the following analyses were investigated:
To begin with, in Countries with highest unemployment rates, the suicide mortality rates for both men and women are higher.
However, when faced with difficult economic situations:
Females suicide mortality rates were higher by 150%
Males suicide mortality rates were higher by 217%
This leads to the conclusion that men’s mental health tends to be more susceptible to financial burdens.
So, what should be done?
A potential solution would be providing unemployment benefits, which are governmental compensations that are provided for unemployed people. These compensations help secure a stable income after the layoff of an employee, and they improve unemployed people’s productivity in the labor market by improving job matching and connecting employees to employers.
In addition, this solution can be helpful in mitigating the impact of unemployment on the psychological wellbeing of people.
As the following illustration shows, both females’ and males’ suicide mortality rates are higher in countries with loweradequacy and coverage of unemployment benefits
More specifically, males’ suicide rates are 31% lower in countries with high adequacy and coverage of unemployment benefits.
Thus, in order to mitigate the males’ suicide mortality, several recommendations are suggested to be effective.
First, it is highly recommended that suicide prevention groups intensify their focus on men and encourage them to express themselves and seek psychological help.
Equally important, in countries with high unemployment rates, governments should work on providing unemployment benefits and ensure their wide coverage of the unemployed.