Roots of Lebanon’s financial crisis

18 August 2020

Lebanon is facing its worst financial crisis since independence. The government has defaulted on its ballooning public debt, high inflation is the new norm, much needed US dollars are in shortage, and thousands of bank account holders are denied their right to withdraw money. The central bank is accused of hiding real losses and appeasing rather than holding politicians and bankers accountable. New US sanctions are adding fuel to the fire of instability.

How did a country that prided itself for its financial stability and a highly performing banking sector find itself in such a quagmire? This webinar will look at the roots of the crisis that run deep in the country’s history, including the role of its banking lobby in the formation of its central bank and management of the currency crisis.

About the speaker:

Hicham Safieddine is lecturer in the History of the Modern Middle East at King’s College London. He is author of Banking on the State: The Financial Foundations of Lebanon (Stanford University Press) and editor of Mahdi Amel: Arab Marxism and National Liberation: Selected Writings (Leftword and Brill, forthcoming). His current research explores the history of financial colonization, including the creation of central banks, across the Global South with particular emphasis on Arab societies and states. He is also researching the history of Arab economic thought in the post-WWII period and its relationship to contemporaneous notions of modernization and development.

Webinar recordings

Watch the webinar on our YouTube channel or listen to the podcast.