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Lebanon-CIA WFB Map (2004).png
 
Introduction Lebanon
Background: Lebanon has made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions since 1991 and the end of the devastating 15-year civil war. Under the Ta'if Accord - the blueprint for national reconciliation - the Lebanese have established a more equitable political system, particularly by giving Muslims a greater say in the political process while institutionalizing sectarian divisions in the government. Since the end of the war, the Lebanese have conducted several successful elections, most of the militias have been weakened or disbanded, and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have extended central government authority over about two-thirds of the country. Hizballah, a radical Shia organization, retains its weapons. Syria maintains about 16,000 troops in Lebanon, based mainly east of Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley. Syria's troop deployment was legitimized by the Arab League during Lebanon's civil war and in the Ta'if Accord. Damascus justifies its continued military presence in Lebanon by citing Beirut's requests and the failure of the Lebanese Government to implement all of the constitutional reforms in the Ta'if Accord. Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000, however, encouraged some Lebanese groups to demand that Syria withdraw its forces as well. The passage of UNSCR 1559 in early October 2004 - a resolution calling for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and end its interference in Lebanese affairs - further emboldened Lebanese groups opposed to Syria's presence in Lebanon.
 
Geography Lebanon
Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria
Geographic coordinates: 33 50 N, 35 50 E
Map references: Middle East
Area: total: 10,400 sq km
water: 170 sq km
land: 10,230 sq km
Area - comparative: about 0.7 times the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries: total: 454 km
border countries: Israel 79 km, Syria 375 km
Coastline: 225 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; Lebanon mountains experience heavy winter snows
Terrain: narrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Qurnat as Sawda' 3,088 m
Natural resources: limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region, arable land
Land use: arable land: 16.62%
permanent crops: 13.98%
other: 69.4% (2001)
Irrigated land: 1,200 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: dust storms, sandstorms
Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Beirut from vehicular traffic and the burning of industrial wastes; pollution of coastal waters from raw sewage and oil spills
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note: Nahr el Litani only major river in Near East not crossing an international boundary; rugged terrain historically helped isolate, protect, and develop numerous factional groups based on religion, clan, and ethnicity
 
People Lebanon
Population: 3,777,218 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26.9% (male 517,356; female 496,888)
15-64 years: 66.3% (male 1,197,430; female 1,305,339)
65 years and over: 6.9% (male 117,930; female 142,275) (2004 est.)
Median age: total: 26.9 years
male: 25.9 years
female: 27.9 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.3% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 19.31 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 6.28 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 25.48 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 22.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 28.21 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.35 years
male: 69.91 years
female: 74.91 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.95 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.09% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 2,800 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Lebanese
Ethnic groups: Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
Religions: Muslim 59.7% (Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 39% (Maronite Catholic, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Roman Catholic, Protestant), other 1.3%
note: seventeen religious sects recognized
Languages: Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87.4%
male: 93.1%
female: 82.2% (2003 est.)
 
Government Lebanon
Country name: conventional long form: Lebanese Republic
conventional short form: Lebanon
local short form: Lubnan
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah
Government type: republic
Capital: Beirut
Administrative divisions: 6 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Beyrouth, Beqaa, Liban-Nord, Liban-Sud, Mont-Liban, Nabatiye
Independence: 22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holiday: Independence Day, 22 November (1943)
Constitution: 23 May 1926, amended a number of times, most recently Charter of Lebanese National Reconciliation (Ta'if Accord) of October 1989
Legal system: mixture of Ottoman law, canon law, Napoleonic code, and civil law; no judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 21 years of age; compulsory for all males; authorized for women at age 21 with elementary education
Executive branch: chief of state: President Emile LAHUD (since 24 November 1998)
head of government: Prime Minister Omar KARAMI (since 21 October 2004); Deputy Prime Minister Issam FARES (since 23 October 2000)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president and members of the National Assembly
elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a six-year term; election last held 15 October 1998 (next election date NA); note - on 3 September 2004 the National Assembly voted 96 to 29 to extend Emile LAHUD's six-year term by three years; the prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly; by agreement, the president is a Maronite Christian, the prime minister is a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of the legislature is a Shia Muslim
election results: For 15 October 1998 election: Emile LAHUD elected president; National Assembly vote - 118 votes in favor, 0 against, 10 abstentions
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis Alnuwab (Arabic) or Assemblee Nationale (French) (128 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of sectarian proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 27 August and 3 September 2000 (next to be held spring 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by sect - Muslim 64 ( of which Sunnis 27, Shia 27, Druze 8, Alawite 2), Christian 64 (of which Maronite 34)
Judicial branch: four Courts of Cassation (three courts for civil and commercial cases and one court for criminal cases); Constitutional Council (called for in Ta'if Accord - rules on constitutionality of laws); Supreme Council (hears charges against the president and prime minister as needed)
Political parties and leaders: political activity is organized along largely sectarian lines; numerous political groupings exist, consisting of individual political figures and followers motivated by religious, ethnic, clan, and economic considerations
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ABEDA, ACCT, AFESD, AMF, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNRWA, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Farid ABBOUD
consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6324
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6300
chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Jeffrey D. FELTMAN
embassy: Awkar, Lebanon
mailing address: P. O. Box 70-840, Antelias, Lebanon; PSC 815, Box 2, FPO AE 09836-0002
telephone: [961] (4) 542600, 543600
FAX: [961] (4) 544136
Flag description: three horizontal bands of red (top), white (double width), and red with a green cedar tree centered in the white band
 
Economy Lebanon
Economy - overview: The 1975-91 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and all but ended Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub. Peace enabled the central government to restore control in Beirut, begin collecting taxes, and regain access to key port and government facilities. Economic recovery was helped by a financially sound banking system and resilient small- and medium-scale manufacturers. Family remittances, banking services, manufactured and farm exports, and international aid provided the main sources of foreign exchange. Lebanon's economy made impressive gains since the launch in 1993 of "Horizon 2000," the government's $20 billion reconstruction program. Real GDP grew 8% in 1994, 7% in 1995, 4% in 1996 and in 1997, but slowed to 1.2% in 1998, -1.6% in 1999, -0.6% in 2000, 0.8% in 2001, 1.5% in 2002, and 3% in 2003. During the 1990s, annual inflation fell to almost 0% from more than 100%. Lebanon has rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure. The government nonetheless faces serious challenges in the economic arena. It has funded reconstruction by borrowing heavily - mostly from domestic banks. In order to reduce the ballooning national debt, the re-installed HARIRI government began an economic austerity program to rein in government expenditures, increase revenue collection, and privatize state enterprises. The HARIRI government met with international donors at the Paris II conference in November 2002 to seek bilateral assistance restructuring its domestic debt at lower rates of interest. While privatization of state-owned enterprises had not occurred by the end of 2003, massive receipts from donor nations stabilized government finances in 2002-04.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $17.82 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $4,800 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 12%
industry: 21%
services: 67% (2000)
Investment (gross fixed): 24.8% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line: 28% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.5% (2003 est.)
Labor force: 1.5 million
note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture NA, industry NA, services NA
Unemployment rate: 18% (1997 est.)
Budget: revenues: $4.414 billion
expenditures: $7.026 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2003 est.)
Public debt: 185.1% of GDP (2003)
Agriculture - products: citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
Industries: banking; food processing; jewelry; cement; textiles; mineral and chemical products; wood and furniture products; oil refining; metal fabricating
Industrial production growth rate: NA
Electricity - production: 6.728 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 7.44 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports: 1.183 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption: 107,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports: NA (2001)
Oil - imports: NA (2001)
Current account balance: $-2.865 billion (2003)
Exports: $1.359 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities: authentic jewelry, inorganic chemicals, miscellaneous consumer goods, fruit, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper
Exports - partners: Switzerland 10.8%, UAE 10%, Saudi Arabia 7.5%, US 7.3%, Turkey 5.5%, Jordan 4.4% (2003)
Imports: $6.073 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities: petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco
Imports - partners: France 13.4%, Germany 11.7%, Italy 10.7%, Syria 5.3%, China 5.2%, UK 4.9%, US 4.5% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold: $16.35 billion (2003)
Debt - external: $20.79 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $3.5 billion (pledges 1997-2001); $4.2 billion in soft loan pledges November 2002 Paris II Aid Conference (2002)
Currency: Lebanese pound (LBP)
Currency code: LBP
Exchange rates: Lebanese pounds per US dollar - 1,507.5 (2003), 1,507.5 (2002), 1,507.5 (2001), 1,507.5 (2000), 1,507.84 (1999)
Fiscal year: calendar year
 
Communications Lebanon
Telephones - main lines in use: 678,800 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 775,100 (2002)
Telephone system: general assessment: telecommunications system severely damaged by civil war; rebuilding well underway
domestic: primarily microwave radio relay and cable
international: country code - 961; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean) (erratic operations); coaxial cable to Syria; microwave radio relay to Syria but inoperable beyond Syria to Jordan; 3 submarine coaxial cables
Radio broadcast stations: AM 20, FM 22, shortwave 4 (1998)
Radios: 2.85 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 15 (plus 5 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions: 1.18 million (1997)
Internet country code: .lb
Internet hosts: 6,998 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 22 (2000)
Internet users: 400,000 (2002)
 
Transportation Lebanon
Railways: total: 401 km
standard gauge: 319 km 1.435-m
note: rail system was unusable because of damage during the civil war in the 1980s; short sections are operable (2003)
narrow gauge: 82 km 1.050-m
Highways: total: 7,300 km
paved: 6,198 km
unpaved: 1,102 km (1999 est.)
Pipelines: oil 209 km (2004)
Ports and harbors: Antilyas, Batroun, Beirut, Chekka, El Mina, Ez Zahrani, Jbail, Jounie, Naqoura, Sidon, Tripoli, Tyre
Merchant marine: total: 49 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 198,602 GRT/248,313 DWT
registered in other countries: 52 (2004 est.)
foreign-owned: Greece 7, India 1, Netherlands 4, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Spain 1, Syria 2
by type: bulk 5, cargo 23, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 1, container 2, liquefied gas 1, livestock carrier 8, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 4, vehicle carrier 3
Airports: 8 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)
 
Military Lebanon
Military branches: Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF; includes Army, Navy, and Air Force)
Military manpower - military age and obligation: 18-30 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months (2004)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,049,097 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 643,050 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $541 million (2002)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 4.8% (FY99)
This page was last updated on 1 January 2003



This is a snapshot of the CIA World Fact Book as it existed on 26 March 2005