Lebanon, a Middle Eastern country open to the world, faces structural challenges which are exacerbated by the consequences of the Syrian conflict. AFD takes action to reduce vulnerabilities and assist the country towards a more balanced and sustainable development path in a context of regional crisis.
  • logo linkedin
  • logo email
Souk, old-town, médina, Tripoli, Lebanon, Petit
AFD and Lebanon: reducing vulnerabilities
Bcharré, sanitation plant, Lebanon, water, sanitation, Petit

Developing sustainable cities

Saint-Gilles stronghold, old city, Tripoli, Lebanon, patrimony

Developing sustainable cities

Development in Lebanon is marked by growing urbanization, which is often poorly controlled, leading to a more rapid deterioration of natural resources, public infrastructure and the historical heritage. This situation is partly due to the low level of financial, human and legal resources of municipalities.

AFD is addressing these issues by supporting the sustainable development of cities. Our operations increase access to urban services for populations, while promoting the protection of the environment and the preservation of Lebanon’s historical heritage.

Collecting and treating wastewater 

50% of wastewater in Lebanon comes from Beirut and the surrounding regions. In the Caza of Jounieh (Keserwan, Mount Lebanon), most of the collection networks date back to the 1960s and, as there is no wastewater treatment plant, they discharge into the sea. To address the environmental emergency and the future needs of the area, AFD is cofinancing the construction of wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure in the Caza of Keserwan. 

Developing a thousand-year-old heritage 

Tripoli and Tyre are among the most remarkable archaeological sites and ancient cities in Lebanon. In addition to the damage suffered in periods of war, their heritage is affected by growing urban pressure and the deterioration of infrastructure. The Cultural Heritage and Urban Development Program (CHUD) is restoring the economic attractiveness of these cities by developing their tourism assets. CHUD is being cofinanced by AFD and the World Bank. It started in 2003 and entered into its second phase in 2014.

Reducing social vulnerabilities

Syrian refugees, Lebanon, training

Reducing social vulnerabilities

Lebanon, which has 4.5 million inhabitants, has hosted between 1 and 1 .5 million refugees since the onset of the Syrian conflict. The saturation of local public services increases the risk of social tensions in the country. NGOs, through their knowledge of the field and technical expertise, provide essential support to the most vulnerable populations and work in close collaboration with local authorities. 

In the context of the Syrian crisis, AFD finances projects led by NGOs for health, education and psychosocial support. Our commitment was strengthened in  2017 with the “SAWA” regional initiative for the Middle East, which aims to structure our operations in response to the Syrian crisis.

Strengthening the social action of vulnerable municipalities

As front-line actors in the management of the consequences of the Syrian refugee crisis, municipalities are often overwhelmed by the magnitude of needs. The Lebanese association Arcenciel is training community workers in 9 vulnerable municipalities thanks to AFD financing. The project aims to identify and follow-up vulnerable people and refer them to health, youth and psychosocial support services.

Access to healthcare: a tool for preventing tensions

Health services are largely inadequate in areas where there is a high concentration of refugees. The Lebanese association Amel has been working for years to improve them in terms of both volume and quantity. With our support, it has been able to develop a partnership with the NGO International Alert to raise the awareness of health workers and Lebanese and Syrian populations in terms of the management of the conflict. This project also increases access to health services through Amel’s community centers and mobile units.

Improving education and promoting francophonie

training, Lebanon, aprenticeship, education

Improving education and promoting francophonie

Lebanon’s technical and vocational training system is underdeveloped and often very costly. While diploma-based training meets a real need, there is sometimes a mismatch between the skills developed and the labor market. Consequently, the technical and vocational education systems struggle to reach the most vulnerable, who often have difficulties in the context of their vocational integration.

Supporting employment for youth and vulnerable women

In the context of the Syrian refugee crisis, the technical and vocational training system is today saturated and is struggling to meet the needs of the labor market. The European Institute for Cooperation and Development (IECD, a French NGO) and its Lebanese partner, Semeurs d’Avenir (SDA), are working alongside the Ministry of Education to develop training provision and reach the most vulnerable populations, with AFD’s support.

New premises for CNAM Lebanon and the École Normale de Beyrouth

CNAM (National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts) is contributing to strengthening Lebanon’s education system, via its various centers in Lebanon, by developing professionalizing training provision accessible to as many people as possible. AFD is supporting the construction and equipment of a new common building for the Higher Institute of Applied and Economic Sciences/CNAM, which will receive 5,800 students. We are also financing the expertise required to develop appropriate training.

Supporting rural development

souk, Tripoli, Lebanon, men, market

Supporting rural development

In Lebanon, rural areas are marked by the deterioration of natural resources and an agriculture sector which lacks dynamism. Agriculture, which accounts for some 5% of GDP and directly employs 10 to 20% of the working population, is a priority sector for the country. However, its equipment needs to be modernized and its agricultural productivity and the quality of its products improved.

Supporting rural development in South Lebanon

While olive oil production in Lebanon dates back over a thousand years, the lack of crop intensification, the weakness of agricultural advisory programs and the lack of infrastructure hinder its productivity. In addition, rural populations in South Lebanon were hard hit by the war in 2006. 

The Daman project has provided its support to seven olive-growing cooperatives, with three objectives: modernize production tools, provide technical expertise to improve practices, and diversify activities and sources of income.

Strengthening the rural and environmental resilience of regions affected by the Syrian crisis

The already fragile state of the environment and its natural resources is rapidly deteriorating due to the arrival of one and a half million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The Parsifal project, financed by AFD via the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture, is improving access to and the quality of rural services and the natural environment in Akkar and Bekaa. This program is also improving economic opportunities for vulnerable populations and is helping to maintain social and community cohesion.

Over 30
projects financed
EUR 1.1bn
committed since 1999
NGOs supported in response to the Syrian crisis since 2014

Lebanon, a small country with a surface area of 10,452 km2 in the heart of the Middle East, has a number of advantages and a relatively high Human Development Index (0.763 in 2015).

However, the structural governance difficulties and the tensions it is experiencing weaken its development path. The consequences of the Syrian conflict are placing a strain on the country’s economic and social resilience capacity. By hosting some 1.5 million Syrian refugees, in addition to the 400,000 Palestinians and Iraqis who were already present prior to the onset of the crisis, Lebanon is the country with the highest rate of refugees per capita in the world.

AFD has been a partner of Lebanon since 1999 and has signed over thirty financing agreements for a total amount of some EUR 1.1bn. Water and sanitation, support for the productive sector and urban development are the three traditional areas of our action. Starting in 2012, given the development in the context, we diversified our operations targeting more the social sectors and the management of the consequences of the Syrian refugee crisis.

Today, AFD contributes to reducing major vulnerabilities: the extremely weak state of public services, territorial inequalities, economic and social pressures caused by the presence of Syrian refugees, and the deterioration of the environment.

To do so, we mobilize all our tools (grants, loans, guarantees, technical assistance, etc.), working with the public authorities (ministries, municipalities), civil society and the private sector.

Interactive map
This map is for illustrative purposes only and does not engage the responsibility of the AFD Group
Funding type


Tout cocher
Tout décocher

Funding type

Tout cocher
Tout décocher


Display local antennas


Launch search
See map of all projects


Institutional document

Minka Peace and Resilience Fund - 2019 Activity Report

As crises become longer and more complex, AFD Group has made a key commitment to sustainable peace,

Jun 2020
Institutional document

Middle East - 2020-2030 Regional Strategy

The Middle East Strategy identifies AFD Group's main strategic priorities for the Middle East, the me

Mar 2020
Institutional document

Minka Middle East Initiative

The wars in Syria and Iraq have driven more than 15 million people to flee their homes and have caus

Oct 2019
Institutional document

Urban Projects Finance Initiative (UPFI)

Imagine the southern Mediterranean tomorrow… 245 million people living in urban areas – it's a hu...
Apr 2018
Research document

The economics of the Syrian refugee crisis in neighboring countries. The case of Lebanon

In this article, we investigate the effects of a massive displacement of workers from a war-torn eco

Apr 2019
Research document

Euro-Med Growth and Trade Integration: can we talk of a cost of the non-Mediterranean?

This paper revisits the debate on EuroMediterranean integration to reassess its observed and expecte...
Nov 2013
Research document

Water services and the private sector in developing countries. Comparative perceptions and discussion dynamics

During the past twenty years, participation of the private sector in the field of essential services...
Apr 2012

The Challenge of psychological well-being in Lebanon

In Lebanon, where mental health is a major public health issue, heightened by the acute economic cri

Dec 2020

Improving the employment of young people and women in a context of crisis in Lebanon

In Lebanon, AFD and the NGO IECD (“Semeurs d'Avenir”) are not only trying to teach young people a...
Nov 2017
Voir toutes les ressources