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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January, 2004
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2004.

This page was last updated on 30 November, 2004

Map of Lebanon

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Lebanon
Definition Field Listing
Lebanon has made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions since 1991 and the end of the devastating 16-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, the radical Shi'a party, 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 its security zone in southern Lebanon in May 2000, however, has emboldened some Lebanese Christians and Druze to demand that Syria withdraw its forces as well.
   Geography    Lebanon
Definition Field Listing
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
33 50 N, 35 50 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Middle East
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 10,400 sq km
land: 10,230 sq km
water: 170 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
about 0.7 times the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 454 km
border countries: Israel 79 km, Syria 375 km
Definition Field Listing
225 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
Definition Field Listing
Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; Lebanon mountains experience heavy winter snows
Definition Field Listing
narrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Qurnat as Sawda' 3,088 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region, arable land
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 16.62%
permanent crops: 13.98%
other: 69.4% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
1,200 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
dust storms, sandstorms
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,777,218 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
total: 26.9 years
male: 25.9 years
female: 27.9 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.3% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
19.31 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.28 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 25.48 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 28.21 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 22.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 72.35 years
male: 69.91 years
female: 74.91 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.95 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.09% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Definition Field Listing
noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Lebanese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Lebanese Republic
conventional short form: Lebanon
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah
local short form: Lubnan
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
6 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Beyrouth, Beqaa, Liban-Nord, Liban-Sud, Mont-Liban, Nabatiye
Definition Field Listing
22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 22 November (1943)
Definition Field Listing
23 May 1926, amended a number of times, most recently Charter of Lebanese National Reconciliation (Ta'if Accord) of October 1989
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
mixture of Ottoman law, canon law, Napoleonic code, and civil law; no judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing
21 years of age; compulsory for all males; authorized for women at age 21 with elementary education
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 scheduled for 2004); note - on 3 September 2004 Parliament voted 96 to 29 to extend Emile LAHUD's six-year term by three years; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly; by custom, the president is a Maronite Christian, the prime minister is a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of the legislature is a Shi'a Muslim
election results: Emile LAHUD elected president; National Assembly vote - 118 votes in favor, 0 against, 10 abstentions
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 NA 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - Muslim 57% (of which Sunni 25%, Sh'ite 25%, Druze 6%, Alawite less than 1%), Christian 43% (of which Maronite 23%); seats by party - Muslim 64 (of which Sunni 27, Sh'ite 27, Druze 8, Alawite 2), Christian 64 (of which Maronite 34)
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
political party activity is organized along largely sectarian lines; numerous political groupings exist, consisting of individual political figures and followers motivated by religious, clan, and economic considerations
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Farid ABBOUD
chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6320
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6324
consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Jeffrey D. FELDMAN
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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.
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $17.82 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $4,800 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 12%
industry: 21%
services: 67% (2000)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
24.8% of GDP (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
28% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.5% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.5 million
note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture NA, industry NA, services NA
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18% (1997 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $4.414 billion
expenditures: $7.026 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
185.1% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
Definition Field Listing
banking; food processing; jewelry; cement; textiles; mineral and chemical products; wood and furniture products; oil refining; metal fabricating
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.728 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.44 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
1.183 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
107,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-2.865 billion (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.359 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
authentic jewelry, inorganic chemicals, miscellaneous consumer goods, fruit, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Switzerland 10.8%, UAE 10%, Saudi Arabia 7.5%, US 7.3%, Turkey 5.5%, Jordan 4.4% (2003)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$6.073 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$16.35 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$20.79 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$3.5 billion (pledges 1997-2001); $4.2 billion in soft loan pledges November 2002 Paris II Aid Conference (2002)
Definition Field Listing
Lebanese pound (LBP)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Lebanon
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
678,800 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
775,100 (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
AM 20, FM 22, shortwave 4 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
15 (plus 5 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6,998 (2004)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
400,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Lebanon
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 401 km
standard gauge: 319 km 1.435-m
narrow gauge: 82 km 1.050-m
note: rail system was unusable because of damage during the civil war in the 1980s; short sections are operable (2003)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 7,300 km
paved: 6,198 km
unpaved: 1,102 km (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
oil 209 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Antilyas, Batroun, Beirut, Chekka, El Mina, Ez Zahrani, Jbail, Jounie, Naqoura, Sidon, Tripoli, Tyre
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 49 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 198,602 GRT/248,313 DWT
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
foreign-owned: Greece 7, India 1, Netherlands 4, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Spain 1, Syria 2
registered in other countries: 52 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
8 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
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 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2003 est.)
   Military    Lebanon
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF; includes Army, Navy, and Air Force)
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 1,049,097 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 643,050 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$541 million (2002)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.8% (FY99)
   Transnational Issues    Lebanon
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Syrian troops in central and eastern Lebanon since October 1976; Lebanese Government claims Shab'a Farms area of Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Definition Field Listing
refugees: 394,532 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA))
IDPs: 300,000 (1975-1990 civil war, Israeli invasions) (2004)
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
cannabis cultivation dramatically reduced to 2,500 hectares in 2002; opium poppy cultivation minimal; small amounts of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin transit country on way to European markets and for Middle Eastern consumption

This page was last updated on 30 November, 2004

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