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Bringing facts back to Lebanon's refugee conversation

 ...[According to] demographic data from the United Nations refugee agency, more than 80 percent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are women and children. That would mean the refugee population includes only around 200,000 men, indicating that Syrian refugees are a lesser burden on the labour market - associated with an inflow of working-age male job seekers - than is commonly believed. Another major misconception among Lebanese citizens is that the refugee influx has weakened the country's economy...when in reality it is the Syrian war itself that has negatively impacted trade and tourism. "Tourism, banking and real estate, some of Lebanon's main economic drivers, have been badly hit by the Syria crisis, not by the refugee population," noted Wissam Harake, an economist at the World Bank Group's Beirut office, citing a recent report on the effects of Syria's war on the Lebanese economy between 2011 and 2013. In contrast to the common perception that refugees are purely a financial burden, consumption and investment within the refugee community have helped to alleviate some of the costs associated with the influx...Syrian refugees pay more than $1m in daily rent across Lebanon...They also spend more than $22m every month on food, according to the World Food Programme... 

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