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Lebanon: Despite international donors’ projects, Syrian refugees suffer from unemployment

Unemployed and underemployed: A lack of jobs in Lebanon means many Syrian refugees can’t find work, 4 January 2017

[A] series of new development projects and policy reforms could provide more employment opportunities for both displaced Syrians and Lebanese citizens. This was a key theme of an international donor conference held in London in February 2016 … The donor conference secured pledges totaling $12 billion in grants and loans aimed mainly at Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey ... One project to be financed [is] the rehabilitation of 500 km of Lebanon’s deteriorating roadways. [T]he Road and Employment Project is expected to create 1.5 million labor days of work, but is not expected to begin issuing contracts before the start of 2018. Supply chain industries and up to 25 contractors are also set to benefit from the project, which is to be conducted in partnership with the World Bank. Two-thirds of those refugees considered as employed worked less than 15 days, and 92 percent earn less than the survival minimum expenditure basket of $435 per month … [Since October 2014,] Syrians residing in Lebanon were restricted to working in three sectors … construction, agriculture and cleaning services – and the latter was expanded to ‘environment’ in 2015 … While most economists acknowledge that the refugee crisis has created competition among low-skilled positions – potentially lowering wages in some sectors – displaced Syrians are not thought to have substantially affected Lebanese unemployment.

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