Top banner
The World Factbook Banner

Flag of Lebanon
Click to enlarge
Categories Banner
 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

Map of Lebanon

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Lebanon Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Following the capture of Syria from the Ottoman Empire by Anglo-French forces in 1918, France received a mandate over this territory and separated out a region of Lebanon in 1920. France granted this area independence in 1943. A 15-year civil war (1976-1991) devastated the country, but Lebanon has since made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions. Under the Ta'if Accord - the blueprint for national reconciliation - the Lebanese established a more equitable political system, particularly by giving Muslims a greater voice in the political process while institutionalizing sectarian divisions in the government. Since the end of the war, Lebanon has conducted several successful elections, most militias have been disbanded, and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have extended authority over about two-thirds of the country. Hizballah, a radical Shi'a organization listed by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, retains its weapons. During Lebanon's civil war, the Arab League legitimized in the Ta'if Accord Syria's troop deployment, numbering about 16,000 based mainly east of Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley. Damascus justified 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. The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq HARIRI and 20 others in February 2005 led to massive demonstrations in Beirut against the Syrian presence ("the Cedar Revolution"). Syria finally withdrew the remainder of its military forces from Lebanon in April 2005. In May-June 2005, Lebanon held its first legislative elections since the end of the civil war free of foreign interference, handing a majority to the bloc led by Saad HARIRI, the slain prime minister's son. Hizballah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in July 2006 leading to a 34-day conflict with Israel. UNSCR 1701, which passed in August 2006, called for the disarmament of Hizballah.
   Geography    Lebanon Top of Page
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: 16.35%
permanent crops: 13.75%
other: 69.9% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
1,040 sq km (2003)
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 is the 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 Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,874,050 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 26.5% (male 523,220/female 502,372)
15-64 years: 66.6% (male 1,235,915/female 1,342,540)
65 years and over: 7% (male 122,155/female 147,848) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 27.8 years
male: 26.7 years
female: 28.9 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.23% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.52 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.21 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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 (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 23.72 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 26.34 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 72.88 years
male: 70.41 years
female: 75.48 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.9 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2,800 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 200 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Lebanese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
note: many Christian Lebanese do not identify themselves as Arab but rather as descendents of the ancient Canaanites and prefer to be called Phoenicians
Definition Field Listing
Muslim 59.7% (Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 39% (Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Chaldean, Assyrian, Copt, Protestant), other 1.3%
note: 17 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 Top of Page
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
former: Greater Lebanon
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
name: Beirut
geographic coordinates: 33 53 N, 35 30 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
8 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Aakkar, Baalbek-Hermel, 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 Fuad SINIORA (since 30 June 2005); Deputy Prime Minister Elias MURR (since April 2005)
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 (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 15 October 1998 (next to be held in 2007 based on three-year extension); 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 National Assembly is a Shi'a 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:
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); note - Nahib BERRI is the National Assembly Speaker (since 1992)
elections: last held in four rounds on 29 May, 5, 12, 19 June 2005 (next to be held 2009)
election results: percent of vote by group - NA; seats by group (as of December 2006) - Future Movement Bloc 36; Democratic Gathering 15; Development and Resistance Bloc 15; Loyalty to the Resistance 14; Free Patriotic Movement 15; Lebanese Forces 5; Qornet Shewan 6; Popular Bloc 4; Tripoli Independent Bloc 3; Syrian National Socialist Party 2; Kataeb Reform Movement 2; Tachnaq Party 2; Democratic Renewal Movement 1; Democratic Left 1; Nasserite Popular Movement 1; Ba'th Party 1; Kataeb Party 1; independent 4
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
note - organized in three major political blocs; 14 March Coalition (bloc includes Democratic Gathering [Walid JUNBLATT, leader of Progressive Socialist Party]; Democratic Left [Ilyas ATALLAH]; Democratic Renewal Movement [Nassib LAHUD]; Future Movement Bloc [Sa'ad HARIRI]; Kataeb Reform Movement [Amine GEMAYEL]; Lebanese Forces [Samir JA'JA]; Nasserite Popular Movement [Ussama SAAD]; Qornet Shewan Gathering (a grouping composed of political parties and independent members of the National Assembly [no individual leader]; Tripoli Independent Bloc); Change and Reform Alliance (bloc includes Free Patriotic Movement [Michel AWN]; Metn Bloc [Michel MURR]; Popular Bloc [Elias SKAFF]; Tachnaq); Hizballah and Amal Alliance (bloc includes Ba'th Party [Muhammad MUHAMMADIYAH]; Development and Resistance Bloc [Nabih BERRI, leader of Amal Movement]; Kataeb Party [Karim PAKRADONI]; Loyalty to the Resistance [Mohammad RA'AD]; Syrian National Socialist Party [Ali QANSU])
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 (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Carla JAZZAR; note - ambassador designate is Antoine CHEDID
chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6320
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6324
consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Ambassador Designate Antoine CHEDID
embassy: Awkar, Lebanon; (Akwar facing the Municipality)
mailing address: P. O. Box 70-840, Antelias, Lebanon; PSC 815, Box 2, FPO AE 09836-0002; from US: US Embassy Beirut, 6070 Beirut Place, Washington, DC 20521-6070
telephone: [961] (4) 542600, 543600
FAX: [961] (4) 544136
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
three horizontal bands consisting of red (top), white (middle, double width), and red (bottom) with a green cedar tree centered in the white band
   Economy    Lebanon Top of Page
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. In the years since, Lebanon has rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily - mostly from domestic banks. In an attempt to reduce the ballooning national debt, the Rafiq HARIRI government began an austerity program, reining in government expenditures, increasing revenue collection, and privatizing state enterprises, but economic and financial reform initiatives stalled and public debt continued to grow despite receipt of more than $2 billion in bilateral assistance at the Paris II Donors Conference. The Israeli-Hizballah conflict caused an estimated $3.6 billion in infrastructure damage in July and August 2006, and internal Lebanese political tension continues to hamper economic activity.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$21.45 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$19.62 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-5% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$5,500 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 7%
industry: 21%
services: 72% (2005)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.5 million
note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20% (2006 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
4.8% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17.8% of GDP (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $4.444 billion
expenditures: $7.429 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
209% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
Definition Field Listing
banking, tourism, 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
9.762 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.529 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
450 million kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
107,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day (2001)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-5.339 billion (October 2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.881 billion f.o.b. (2005 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
Syria 25.3%, UAE 11.4%, Switzerland 8.1%, Turkey 6%, Saudi Arabia 5.4% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$9.34 billion f.o.b. (2005 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
Italy 11.1%, Syria 10.7%, France 9.2%, Germany 6.4%, China 5.4%, US 5.3%, UK 4.4%, Saudi Arabia 4.3% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$16.78 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$31.1 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$2.2 billion received (2003), out of the $4.2 billion in soft loans pledged at the November 2002 Paris II Aid Conference
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Lebanese pound (LBP)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Lebanese pounds per US dollar - 1,507.5 (2006), 1,507.5 (2005), 1,507.5 (2004), 1,507.5 (2003), 1,507.5 (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Lebanon Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
990,000 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
990,000 (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: repair of the telecommunications system, severely damaged during the civil war, now complete
domestic: two commercial wireless networks provide good service; political instability hampers privatization and deployment of new technologies
international: country code - 961; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean) (erratic operations); coaxial cable to Syria; 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
3,307 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
700,000 (2005)
   Transportation    Lebanon Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
gas 43 km (2006)
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 became unusable because of damage done during fighting in the 1980s and in 2006 (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 7,300 km
paved: 6,198 km
unpaved: 1,102 km (1999)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 39 ships (1000 GRT or over) 150,598 GRT/178,295 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 18, livestock carrier 10, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 3, vehicle carrier 3
foreign-owned: 4 (Greece 3, Syria 1)
registered in other countries: 59 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Barbados 1, Cambodia 6, Comoros 6, Egypt 2, Georgia 7, Honduras 1, North Korea 6, Liberia 2, Malta 10, Mongolia 1, Panama 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4, Sao Tome and Principe 1, Syria 7, unknown 2) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Beirut, Chekka, Jounie, Tripoli
   Military    Lebanon Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): Army, Navy, and Air Force
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18-30 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 974,363
females age 18-49: 1,024,273 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 821,762
females age 18-49: 865,770 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.1% (2004)
   Transnational Issues    Lebanon Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Lebanese Government claims Shab'a Farms area of Israeli-occupied Golan Heights; the roughly 2,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has been in place since 1978
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Definition Field Listing
refugees (country of origin): 404,170 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA))
IDPs: 300,000 (1975-90 civil war, Israeli invasions) (2005)
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 18 January, 2007

Bottom Banner