American University of Beirut

Prospects of an IMF Program for Lebanon

About the Speaker

Dr. Sami Geadah was the Alternate Director at the IMF Executive Board representing several countries including Lebanon from 2009-2021. As member of the Board, he formulated and presented positions on IMF policies and procedures, and his work included advice to the countries that he represented on discussions with the IMF. Prior to becoming a member of the Board, Sami was on the IMF staff, where he was involved in program negotiations and surveillance (Article IV) consultations, and he was part of the team that established the IMF-World Bank Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), leading the FSAP assessments for several countries. He was the first director of the IMF Middle East Technical Assistance Center in Beirut. Sami joined the IMF in the Economist Program upon completing his PhD in finance from Wharton, University of Pennsylvania. He is one of our alumni, having obtained his BA in economics from AUB.​

About the Talk

On April 7, 2022, the Lebanese government reached a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund that may unlock financing of US$3 billion (SDR 2,173.9 million) under a 46-month Extended Fund Arrangement (EFF). In order for the EFF to receive board-level approval at the IMF, important legislative prior actions pertaining to banking secrecy and emergency bank resolution are expected. Further, the government is expected to propose a bank restructuring and a medium-term fiscal and debt restructuring strategy, as well as to conduct a special purpose audit of the Banque du Liban’s foreign asset position. Lebanon’s weak institutional setup and the pervasive elite capture are significant impediments to making progress in terms of meeting these prior actions. The webinar will address the following questions: What are the prospects for a program with the IMF? How would the country look without an IMF program? If Lebanon successfully secures an IMF program, how likely is it to go off-track? What is the country’s Plan B without an IMF program? ​


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