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Lebanon’s finance minister: ‘The phoenix will rise again’

Lebanon’s finance minister, Jihad Azour, told Sudip Roy in early August how his country is coping with conflict.

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Lebanon’s finance minister, Jihad Azour
What’s the conflict’s financial cost on Lebanon?

It’s very difficult to assess with accuracy the economic impact. Things are changing on a daily basis. Therefore it’s difficult to assess while Israel’s bombs continue to fall.

You have said that the cost of the damage was about $2 billion. Is there a more accurate estimate?

I’m not giving any estimates. It doesn’t add any value to spend our time updating [the cost] on a daily basis. What we are thinking about is (a) what are the implications? (b) what is the magnitude of the damage financially? and (c) how are we going to rehabilitate? Various agencies are working on these issues.

But as I say, things are changing on a daily basis. Israeli bombs haven’t just hit infrastructure or military targets but also industrial sites. Some attacks have hit basic products, such as the Procter & Gamble warehouses.

What’s the outlook for Lebanon’s economy?

The economy was expected to grow between 5% and 6% this year.

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