In 2018, Lebanon was host to 1.5 million Syrian refugees, the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. Hosting nearly an additional one quarter of its population has put a great strain on Lebanon’s already stressed services, including its infrastructure, water, electricity, and social services such as education and health.
The World Bank has initiated several efforts to support countries hosting refugees and to address the refugee crisis from the development side by supporting these countries to increase the capacity of their infrastructure and services in order to cope with the larger number of users. These efforts include the creation in 2016 of the Global Concessional Financing Facility or GCFF, a global donor-financed trust fund that provides access to concessional finance for middle income countries hosting refugees, as well as a new IDA sub window for financing lower income countries hosting refugees. Lebanon and Jordan have been among the first middle income countries to benefit from the World Bank’s mobilization of concessional rate financing for projects that aim to support both refugees and their host communities.
Description of project
In 2016, the World Bank provided a $100 million loan to the Government of Lebanon to support the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE)’s program entitled Reaching All Children with Education (RACE II). The loan was provided at concessional terms via an exceptional loan from IDA to Lebanon, in the early stages of the Bank’s efforts to support middle income countries hosting refugees. The Syrian Crisis Trust Fund and the Results in Education for All Children Trust Fund provided additional financing in the amount of $124 million USD. The program is funded through the program for results (P4R) instrument, meaning that the funds are disbursed only after the agreed upon results have been achieved.
The program focuses on supporting the Lebanese education system around three pillars: equitable access, enhanced quality, and strengthened systems.