In the aftermath of the Beirut Port explosion, Expertise France is working alongside the Lebanese

In the aftermath of 4 August, the date of the double explosion in the port of the Lebanese capital city, Expertise France joined the response mechanism to the explosion, in cooperation with Team France and Team Europe. Among the six projects that Expertise France is implementing in this country, five have been refocused to contribute to the reconstruction, support for vulnerable populations and economic recovery. This assistance is part of the broader support that Expertise France has been providing to its Lebanese partners for many years for the economic development of the country and to support public policies.

On 4 August 2020, a double explosion in Beirut Port killed over 200 people and injured thousands. The very next day, in the French and European coordination mechanism, Expertise France took action to contribute to the reconstruction, support for vulnerable populations and economic recovery.

Contributing to rebuilding the country

The double explosion at Beirut Port caused serious damage to streets and buildings in the city. To contribute to the reconstruction of the capital city, the Minjara platform has made and repaired 190 doors for some 75 homes, in collaboration with civil society organisations – Renovate Beirut and Maan Lubnan.

The Minjara platform, which is based in Tripoli, was set up under the Private Sector Development Programme in Lebanon (PSD-P), funded by the European Union. From 2016 to 2019, it provided support to microenterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the agriculture and furniture sectors to increase their competitiveness and profitability.

The Act Lebanon project stood by its institutional partners after the explosion to assist them with the return to work. It has also provided USD 1,500 of financing to repair the training room for the Lebanese Court of Auditors, which has been badly affected by the double explosion. Act Lebanon, which is funded by the European Union, is part of the reforms initiated by Lebanon to improve transparency in political life and public accounts. The project is about to launch, on 9 December 2020, the national awareness-raising campaign on the fight against corruption led by the University Saint Joseph and the association ALDIC. 

Finally, specifically in the port, an expert mission, in the “Team France” format, went to Beirut from 2 to 6 November 2020 to contribute to the assessments conducted by the international coordination set up by the World Bank for the reconstruction of the port. Expertise France deployed a team of experts in the fields of governance, safety and security, and customs to identify the needs for the reconstruction of the Port of Beirut and to formulate recommendations in this regard, in coordination with the working groups set up by the World Bank. A diagnostic report was handed over to the Lebanese partners together with short and midterm recommendations for enhancing port activities and security. On July 23rd, a mobile scanner was handed over by the French Customs, in partnership with Smith Detection, to the Lebanese customs to resume container control and contribute to the economic recovery.

France's support to the Port of Beirut after the explosions of August 2020

As part of French aid in response to the explosion which took place on 4 August 2020 in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, France acted very quickly and brought together a team of experts. Their work consists in identifying the needs for reconstruction of the port and in proposing solutions to improve its functioning: governance, customs, digitalisation, security, development, etc. The public agency Expertise France ensures the coordination of the expertise mission.

In the context of this mission, Team France launched a series of policy briefs on the different aspects of the expertise mission.

Download the first policy brief on customs:

Supporting socioeconomic recovery

The other priority is to support the economic recovery of the country. Under the Shabake project, which aims to build the capacities of Lebanese civil society to intervene for crisis prevention and response, a reallocation of funds and additional financing from Agence Française de Développement (AFD) are supporting innovative initiatives for economic recovery in the areas most affected by the crisis in Beirut. The objective is to support local economic actors so that they can restart their activity, as well as to build the capacities of local organisations involved since the onset of the crisis in Beirut. Shabake is a project financed by AFD and Danish cooperation (Danida), through which Expertise France is supporting 7 NGOs to improve the implementation of projects to reduce vulnerability among fragile populations.

Furthermore, a call for projects dedicated to women entrepreneurs affected by the explosion has been launched under the EU4WE project, funded by the European Union in Lebanon to support the fight against gender inequalities. Gender inequalities, which were already very marked before the crisis (for example, only 3% of loans went to women entrepreneurs), have been exacerbated following the explosions, making it even more difficult for women to access recovery funds or financial instruments. The fund set up via EU4WE has assisted 30 women entrepreneurs with the resumption of their activities. The financing is also supporting an NGO to coordinate the monitoring of the use of the funds.

Broader commitment to governance

This emergency response is part of the broader assistance that Expertise France has been providing to Lebanese people for many years for the economic development of the country and to support public policies. In Lebanon, the agency is implementing projects in the fields of democratic, economic and financial governance, stabilisation and sustainable development.

Find out more about Expertise France in Lebanon

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