Country List | World Factbook Home
CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Lebanon
Flag of Lebanon
Map of Lebanon
Introduction Lebanon
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 20,000 troops in Lebanon based mainly in Beirut, North Lebanon, and 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 of 2000, however, has emboldened some Lebanese Christians and Druze to demand that Syria withdraw its forces as well.
Geography Lebanon
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria
Geographic coordinates:
33 50 N, 35 50 E
Map references:
Middle East
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
225 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 NM
Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; Lebanon mountains experience heavy winter snows
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: 17.6%
permanent crops: 12.51%
other: 69.89% (1998 est.)
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, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, 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
3,677,780 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.3% (male 511,902; female 491,804)
15-64 years: 65.9% (male 1,157,688; female 1,267,106)
65 years and over: 6.8% (male 113,341; female 135,939) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.36% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
19.96 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
6.35 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
27.39 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.79 years
female: 74.32 years (2002 est.)
male: 69.38 years
Total fertility rate:
2.02 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.09% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Lebanese
Ethnic groups:
Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
Muslim 70% (including Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 30% (including Orthodox Christian, Catholic, Protestant), Jewish NEGL%
Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 90.8%
female: 82.2% (1997 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:
Administrative divisions:
6 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Beyrouth, Beqaa, Liban-Nord, Liban-Sud, Mont-Liban, Nabatiye
22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 22 November (1943)
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
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 Rafiq HARIRI (since 23 October 2000); 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 to be held NA 2004); 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:
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:
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 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:
International organization participation:
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) 939-6320
chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Vincent Martin BATTLE
embassy: Awkar, Lebanon
mailing address: P. O. Box 70840, Awkar, Lebanon; PSC 815, Box 2, FPO AE 09836-0002
telephone: 011-961-4-543-600/542-600
FAX: 011-961-4-544-136
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 2% in 1998, -1% in 1999, and -0.5% in 2000. Growth recovered slightly in 2001 to 1%. 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 reign 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 in order to restructure its higher interest rate bearing domestic debt obligations at lower rates. While privatization of state-owned enterprises had not occurred by the end of 2002, the government had successfullly avoided a currency devaluation and debt default in 2002.
purchasing power parity - $18.8 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $5,200 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 21%
services: 67% (2000)
Population below poverty line:
28% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
1.5 million
note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (1999 est.) (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
services NA%, industry NA%, agriculture NA%
Unemployment rate:
18% (1997 est.)
revenues: $4.6 billion
expenditures: $8.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
banking; food processing; jewelry; cement; textiles; mineral and chemical products; wood and furniture products; oil refining; metal fabricating
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
7.95 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 97%
hydro: 3%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
8.643 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
1.25 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
$700 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
foodstuffs and tobacco, textiles, chemicals, precious stones, metal and metal products, electrical equipment and products, jewelry, paper and paper products
Exports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 11%, UAE 11%, Switzerland 7%, US 7%, France 5%, Iraq 4%, Jordan 4%, Kuwait 4%, Syria 4% (2000)
$6.6 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, textiles, metals, fuels, agricultural foods
Imports - partners:
Italy 11%, France 8%, Germany 8%, US 7%, Switzerland 6%, China 5%, Syria 5%, UK 4% (2000)
Debt - external:
$8.4 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$3.5 billion (pledges 1997-2001)
Lebanese pound (LBP)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Lebanese pounds per US dollar - 1,507.5 (January 2002), 1,507.5 (2001), 1,507.5 (2000), 1,507.8 (1999), 1,516.1 (1998), 1,539.5 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Lebanon
Telephones - main lines in use:
700,000 (1999)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
580,000 (1999)
Telephone system:
general assessment: telecommunications system severely damaged by civil war; rebuilding well underway
domestic: primarily microwave radio relay and cable
international: 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)
2.85 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
15 (plus 5 repeaters) (1995)
1.18 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
22 (2000)
Internet users:
300,000 (2001)
Transportation Lebanon
total: 399 km
standard gauge: 317 km 1.435-m
note: entire system is unusable because of damage in civil war (2001)
narrow gauge: 82 km 1.050-m
total: 7,300 km
paved: 6,350 km
unpaved: 950 km (1999 est.)
crude oil 72 km (none in operation)
Ports and harbors:
Antilyas, Batroun, Beirut, Chekka, El Mina, Ez Zahrani, Jbail, Jounie, Naqoura, Sidon, Tripoli, Tyre
Merchant marine:
total: 67 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 320,770 GRT/468,293 DWT
ships by type: bulk 8, cargo 38, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 1, container 4, liquefied gas 1, livestock carrier 7, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 3, vehicle carrier 3
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: France 1, Greece 10, Netherlands 4, Panama 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Spain 1, Syria 2 (2002 est.)
8 (2001)
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 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Military Lebanon
Military branches:
Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF; includes Army, Navy, and Air Force)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,003,174 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 618,129 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$343 million (FY99/00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.8% (FY99/00)
Transnational Issues Lebanon
Disputes - international:
Syrian troops in northern, central, and eastern Lebanon since October 1976; Lebanese Government claims Shab'a Farms area of Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
Illicit drugs:
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 US and European markets

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003