Economy of Lebanon

The civil war of 1975–90 seriously destroyed Lebanon’s economic infrastructure, undermining the country’s position as an important economic, commercial, and banking center in the Middle East. The peace settlement allowed the Lebanese government to begin economic and financial recovery. The noticeable growth of the Lebanese economy was largely facilitated by the implementation of the government’s Horizon 2000 plan aimed at restoring the country, which required $18 billion for its implementation. The plan included a large number of projects related to the development of all spheres of Lebanese society – the economy, incl. manufacturing sector, infrastructure, social sector.

According to cheeroutdoor, 10 years after the end of the civil war, Lebanon is again beginning to occupy a key position in trade and business activity in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. The economic policy of the Lebanese authorities encourages cooperation with other countries. Lebanon has ceased to be a risk zone for foreign investors and partners. In the years since the end of the civil war, more than 900 foreign companies have been registered in Lebanon, including 147 American, 88 French, 86 British companies, 73 Swiss and 42 Panamanian firms. 4 Russian companies are also registered in Lebanon.

GDP 25.188 billion Lebanese pounds or 16.708 million USD, GDP per capita 5200 USD (2001). At the same time, according to 1999 data, 28% of the Lebanese population live below the poverty line. The economically active population included (according to various sources) from 1.22 million to 1.5 million Lebanese, as well as (exact statistics are not available) 1 million foreign workers (Syrians, immigrants from other Arab countries and Southeast Asia) (2001). Unemployment 18% (1997). Real economic growth in 2001 was 1.5% and inflation was 0.5%.

Industry provides 20% of GDP. Lebanon has a developed food industry, jewelry, light industry, construction, woodworking and furniture production, and metalworking. In Lebanon, according to statistics from the Ministry of Industry, in 1998, of all registered industrial enterprises, 21% worked in the food industry, 16% in metalworking, 11% in furniture production, 10% in woodworking industry, 14% in textile and light industry, as well as in clothing production. Since 2001, a number of important tasks of the Lebanese Ministry of Industry include increasing the share of industrial exports to 1.4 billion US dollars, creating 50 thousand new jobs and expanding the share of industrial production in the structure of GDP.

Agriculture occupies 10% of GDP. Citrus fruits, grapes, tomatoes, apples, olives, potatoes, tobacco, sugar beets, wheat are grown in Lebanon, as well as cattle and small cattle and fishing. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture, in 2001 fruit and vegetable products were produced for 1285 billion Lebanese pounds, meat and dairy products for 533 billion Lebanese pounds. From con. 2000, the R. Hariri government announced its intention to stimulate the activities of agricultural cooperatives, providing employment for the population, which should lead to an increase in income and a rise in the standard of living of rural residents. Among the important problems, the ministry highlights the provision of environmental safety, the reasonable use and conservation of natural resources (land, water, fisheries, forests).

In animal husbandry, a project is currently being implemented within the framework of the UN program for the development of the Baalbek-Hermel region to breed large and small cattle in the Bekaa Valley. Also, such international organizations as FAO, the World Bank, etc. take part in various projects of the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture.

The length of highways is 7,300 km, of which 6,350 km are concrete paved, and 950 km are unpaved.

Railroads in Lebanon were not restored after the civil war, so rail transport is not currently in operation. The oil pipeline with a length of 72 km is also not used.

The merchant fleet includes 67 ships. The most important ports are Beirut, Batroun, Shekka, al-Mina, Jbeil, Saida, Tripoli, Jounieh, Tyre. Lebanon has 8 airports.

In 1999 there were 700,000 fixed telephone lines and 580,000 mobile telephones. In 1998, there were 20 AM and 22 FM radio stations, more than 15 television channels. In 2001, over 300,000 Internet users and 22 Internet service providers were registered in Lebanon.

Trade and services account for 70% of Lebanon’s GDP. Tourism and infrastructure (hotels, restaurants) are actively developing in Lebanon. In addition to the traditional programs of visiting historical sites in Beirut, Said, Tire, Baalbek and others, the Ministry of Tourism also offers an ecotourism program. According to the Lebanese Ministry of Finance, the total expenditure from the 2002 budget for the Ministry of Tourism amounted to 10.014 billion Lebanese pounds. According to the World Tourism Organization, 424 foreign tourists visited Lebanon in 1996, 742 in 2000, and 837 in 2001.

Lebanese banks have the unlimited right to transfer any amount in any currency. Accounts can be opened in any major currency. The amount of interest can be set by agreement with the client. Lebanon has a guarantee for deposits up to 5 million Lebanese pounds or its foreign currency equivalent. Since 1956, Lebanese bank accounts have been treated as strictly confidential. Exceptions may be made in certain cases of legal proceedings or bankruptcy.

Government budget (billion Lebanese pounds): revenues 4,648, expenditures 8,787, deficit 4,230 (2001). The public debt in 2001 amounted to 42.695 billion Lebanese pounds.

Lebanon has a liberal tax system. The tax on all types of activities is 3-10%. The tax on income in the form of wages is 2-10%. Enterprises and firms engaged in construction, as well as manufacturers of products that did not exist in Lebanon before January 1, 1980, are exempt from taxes for 10 years. Some types of banking activities are exempt from taxes for 7 years.

Lebanon exports various agricultural products and food products (17%), jewelry and bijouterie (16%), audio, video, household appliances and electronics (13%), chemical products (10%), textiles (8%).

Main export partners: Saudi Arabia (11%), United Arab Emirates (10%), USA (6%), France (5%), Kuwait (4%), Jordan (4%) and Syria (4%). Overall, Arab countries account for 46% and EU countries for 27% of Lebanese exports.

The group of imported goods includes mineral products (18%), electronics, audio, video, household appliances (13%), transport (9%), chemical products (8%), textiles (6%). Main import partners: Arab countries (12%), Italy (11%), Germany and France (8% each), USA (7%), Great Britain (4%), Japan (3%).

Economy of Lebanon