Canada’s development assistance in Lebanon

Although Lebanon is an upper-middle-income country, the country faces significant poverty challenges. In fact, a large portion of the population lacks access to quality education, health care and other basic services due to the deterioration of the country’s public institutions.

Lebanon currently faces a significant social and economic burden because the country has received over one million Syrian refugees since March 2011. In the absence of official camps, refugees currently live among local communities, often in the poorest areas. Further, the arrival of such a huge number of refugees has led to competition for basic services and jobs, and this strain on resources has led to growing tensions within the communities. In fact, since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, Lebanon has seen unemployment rates double and overall poverty increase to 34 percent. Youth unemployment in the country is high at 34 percent, and women account for only 24 percent of the work force. The country ranks 78 out of 188 countries in terms of gender inequality.

Lebanon achieved notable success in making progress towards several Millennium Development Goals since 2000, notably in reducing child and maternal mortality and towards achieving universal primary education, with a high literacy rate among youth for both males and females. Critical targets for poverty reduction, gender equality and the environment have not been achieved, however, due in part to the complex politics of Lebanon and the regional impact of the Syrian crisis. Lebanon ranks 67 out of 188 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s 2015 Human Development Index.

Thematic focus

At the beginning of 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada's new strategy to address the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria, including further increases over the next three years toward Canada's new approach to security, stabilization, humanitarian and development assistance. Complementing Canada’s humanitarian assistance, Canada’s bilateral development assistance will help to strengthen basic service delivery, for example in education, and improve employment and livelihoods opportunities, particularly for youth. These efforts will help to strengthen the resilience of individuals, communities and systems to withstand the crisis in the region and be well positioned to contribute to the longer-term development of Lebanon.

Key anticipated results

Examples of results include:

  • Lebanese public and private institutions support economic growth by creating employment and livelihood opportunities, particularly for women, youth and refugees
  • More Syrian and Lebanese children now have improved access to quality formal education



Achievements 2015-2016

  • Canada contributed to a total of 101,515 non-Lebanese and 30,933 Lebanese children enrolling in formal education in Lebanon
  • Canada supported the launch of a new education pilot program to help 6,009 children who missed school because of the conflict, catch up on the missed schooling and get back into the formal system.
  • 22 schools were rehabilitated, which improved the learning environment and supported the absorption of additional students in schools