Small and densely populated, Lebanon lies at the heart of a region beset by conflict and political instability. The country has shown exceptional solidarity towards people fleeing war and insecurity in neighbouring countries and has the world’s highest per capita refugee presence, estimated at one quarter of the overall population.
The spill over from the ongoing war in Syria has exacerbated economic and social challenges, placing a strain on existing resources and already overstretched public services and infrastructure in host communities.
In response, WFP runs an e-card system as its primary form of food assistance for vulnerable Syrian and Lebanese families who cannot meet their basic food needs. E-cards are loaded each month with US$ 27 per person and can be used to buy food in any of the 500 contracted shops across Lebanon. The system allows refugees to choose the makeup of their meals, gives them access to fresh produce and significantly boosts the local economy.
Worldwide smartphone subscription has been increasing steadily over the last couple of years, and is expected to grow further to 6.8 billion by 2022 from 3.8 billion in 2016, according to the 2017 Ericsson Mobility Report. That growth will partially be within vulnerable populations, including refugees, opening space for innovation towards additional opportunities and better customer experience for those in need.