Lebanon’s political development since independence has been influenced primarily by its evolving confessional system. However, this system, originally established to balance the competing interests of local religious communities, is increasingly seen as an impediment to more effective governance, paralyzing the decision-making process and hollowing out the state. Lebanon’s confessional system also has proven extremely vulnerable to external influence, which has bred and exacerbated local conflict and violence. The Lebanese economy has grown at a moderate pace over the past decades, but growth has been uneven due to large, frequent and mostly “political” shocks, to which the economy has been relatively resilient. In this context, the World Bank Group has undertaken a Systematic Country Diagnostic to identify the main constraints Lebanon faces in transforming its vast potentials into a driver for the economy and tool for fighting extreme poverty.