Lebanon's Economy

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. Following October 1990, however, a tentative peace has enabled the central government to begin restoring control in Beirut, collect taxes, and regain access to key port and government facilities. The battered economy has also been propped up by a financially sound banking system and resilient small- and medium-scale manufacturers. Family remittances, banking transactions, manufactured and farm exports, the narcotics trade, and international emergency aid are the main sources of foreign exchange. In the relatively settled year of 1991, industrial production, agricultural output, and exports showed substantial gains. The further rebuilding of the war-ravaged country was delayed in 1992 because of an upturn in political wrangling. In October 1992, Rafiq Al-Hariri was appointed Prime Minister. Al-Hariri, a wealthy entrepreneur, has announced ambitious plans for Lebanon's reconstruction which involve a substantial influx of foreign aid and investment. Progress on restoring basic services is limited. Since Prime Minister Al-Hariri's appointment, the most significant improvement lies in the stabilization of the Lebanese pound, which had gained over 30% in value by yearend 1993. The year 1993 was marked by efforts of the new administration to encourage domestic and foreign investment and to obtain additional international assistance.

Historical Overview

Economic activities:

National product:
GDP - exchange rate conversion: $6.1 billion (1993 est.)
GDP - purchasing power parity: $18.3 billion (1995 est.)

National product real growth rate:
4.2% (1992 est.)
6.5% (1995 est.)

National product per capita:
$1,720 (1993 est.)
$4,900 (1995 est.)

GDP composition by sector:
Agriculture: 13%
Industry: 28%
Services: 59% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
35% (1993 est.)
9% (1995 est.)

Labor force: 650,000
By occupation:services 60%, industry 28%, agriculture 12% (1990 est.).

Unemployment rate:
35% (1993 est.)
30% (1995 est.)

Budget
Revenues: $990 million

Expenditures:
$1.98 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1993 est.)
$3.20 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1994 est.)

Exports:
$925 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
$1 billion (f.o.b., 1995 est.)

Commodities:
Agricultural products, chemicals, textiles, precious and semiprecious metals and jewelry, metals and metal products

Partners:
Saudi Arabia 21%, Switzerland 9.5%, Jordan 6%, Kuwait 12%, US 5% (1993 est.)
Saudi Arabia 13%, Switzerland 12%, UAE 11%, Syria 9%, US 5% (1995 est.)

Imports:
$4.1 billion (c.i.f., 1993 est.)
$7.3 billion (c.i.f., 1995 est.)

Commodities:
Consumer goods, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products

Partners:
Italy 14%, France 12%, US 6%, Turkey 5%, Saudi Arabia 3% (1993 est.)
Italy 14%, France 9%, US 8%, Turkey 5%, Saudi Arabia 3% (1995 est.)

External debt:
$700 million (1993 est.)
$1.2 billion (July 1995)

Industrial production:
Growth rate 25% (1993 est.)

Electricity:
Capacity: 1,300,000 kW

Production: 3.413 billion kWh

Consumption per capita: 990 kWh (1992)

Industries:
Banking, food processing, textiles, cement, oil refining, chemicals, jewelry, some metal fabricating

Agriculture:
Accounts for about one-third of GDP; principal products - citrus fruits, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco, hemp (hashish), sheep, goats.

Economic aid:
Aid for Lebanon's reconstruction programs currently totals $1.3 billion since October 1992, including a $175 million loan from the World Bank.

Currency:
1 Lebanese pound (L) = 100 piasters

5000 (front)

5000 (back)

10000 (front)

10000 (back)

20000 (front)

20000 (back)

Exchange rates:
Lebanese pounds (L) per US$1: 1,584.0 (March 1996), 1,621.4 (1995), 1,680.1 (1994), 1,741.4 (1993), 1,712.8 (1992), 928.23 (1991), 695.09 (1990), 496.69 (1989)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Useful Links:

Lebanon Busines and Economy, IDREL
Made in Lebanon, Association of Lebanese Industrialists


Lebanon's Transportation

More Information

Railroads:
Two standard-gauge lines from Syria: one down coast through Tripoli and Beirut to Az Zahrani; the other through Beqaa Valley to Riyaq. Narrow-gauge mountain line from Damascus to Beirut. In 1987 no trains operating on 407-kilometer system. System in disrepair, considered inoperable.

Operating standard gauge in 1996: 222 km 1.435-m (from Beirut to the Syrian border)

Highways:
Approximately 7,300 kilometers of roads in varying states of disrepair in 1987. Beirut hub of network extending north to Tripoli, south to Tyre, and east through mountains to Damascus. Roads also extending through Beqaa Valley and crossing Lebanon Mountains.

Total: 7,370 km

Paved: 6,265 km

Unpaved: Gravel 450 km; improved earth 650 km

Pipelines:
Crude oil 72 km (none in operation): Trans-Arabia Pipeline (Tapline) from Saudi Arabia to Az Zahrani refinery but closed in mid-1980s. Iraq Petroleum Company pipeline through Syria to Tripoli refinery but closed in 1981.

Ports:
Al Batrun, Al Mina, An Naqurah, Antilyas, Az Zahrani, Beirut, Jubail, Juniyah, Saida, Sour, Shikka, Trablous

Merchant marine:
1993 est.:
total: 63 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 268,268 GRT/399,054 DWT
ships by type: bulk 4, cargo 39, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 1, container 2, livestock carrier 9, refrigerated cargo 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 2, combination ore/oil 1

1993 est.:
total: 58 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 192,075 GRT/296,256 DWT
ships by type: bulk 4, cargo 39, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 1, combination ore/oil 1, container 2, livestock carrier 4, refrigerated cargo 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 2

Airports:
Total: 9

Usable: 7

with paved runways over 3 047 m: 1
with paved runways 2 438 to 3 047 m: 2
with paved runways 1 524 to 2 437 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 2
with unpaved runways 914 to 1 523 m: 1 (1995 est.)


Lebanon's Telecommunications

More Information

Telephones: 325,000 (95 telephones per 1,000 persons, 1990 est.)

Telephone system: Telecommunications system severely damaged by civil war; rebuilding still 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 5, FM 3, shortwave 1
Note: More than 100 AM and FM stations are operated sporadically by various factions.

Radios: 2.37 million (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 13

Televisions: 1.1 million (1993 est.)

Source: CIA, World Fact Book 1994, 1996


| Main Page | Geography | History | Tourism | Economy | Politics | Culture | Science | Sports | Index |
1997-2001 by Ayman Ghazi
ayman@ghazi.de
Last changes: September 30, 1997