Foreign donors are propping up Lebanon’s public institutions and services with the kind of aid they ordinarily provide to failed states. Will this aid create more problems than it solves for Lebanon’s long-suffering people?

On this episode of Century International’s Order from Ashes podcast, fellow Sam Heller discusses the alarming findings of his report, “Adopt a Ministry: How Foreign Aid Threatens Lebanon’s Institutions.

As Lebanon’s crisis worsens, foreign donors have stepped in to take over many core functions normally fulfilled by the government. Is this aid, which is vital in the short term, threatening the viability and long-term recovery of Lebanon?

Donors, aid agencies, Lebanese officials and experts can start by getting honest about the tradeoffs, Sam argues. A first step toward changing the counterproductive aid dynamic requires a full picture of foreign support for Lebanon, so donors and the Lebanese government can coordinate aid to useful ends and not just perpetuate dependency and state breakdown.



  • Sam Heller, fellow, Century International
  • Thanassis Cambanis, director, Century International