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Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French separated out the region of Lebanon in 1920, and granted this area independence in 1943. A lengthy civil war (1975-90) 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 reduced or disbanded, with the exception of Hizballah, designated by the US State Department as a... See More



 Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria

Geographic Coordinates:

 33 50 N, 35 50 E


 Total: 10,400 sq km
Land: 10,230 sq km
Water: 170 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 (Rank: 138)

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: Qornet es Saouda 3,088 m

Natural Resources:

 Limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region, arable land

Land Use:

 Arable land: 16.35%
Permanent crops: 13.75%
Other: 69.9% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 900 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 4.8 cu km (1997)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 1.38 cu km/yr (33%/1%/67%)
Per capita: 385 cu m/yr (2000)

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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

Signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation

Geography - Note:

 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

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 Noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Lebanese

Ethnic Groups:

 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


 Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian


 Muslim 59.7% (Shia, 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, Coptic, Protestant), other 1.3%

Note: 17 religious sects recognized


 4,143,101 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 23% (male 487,930/female 464,678)
15-64 years: 68% (male 1,370,628/female 1,446,173)
65 years and over: 9% (male 173,073/female 200,619) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 29.8 years
Male: 28.7 years
Female: 31 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 0.244% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 15.02 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 6.54 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 -6.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 87% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 BEIRUT (capital) 1.909 million (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 26 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 15.85 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 15.99 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 15.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 75.01 years
Male: 73.48 years
Female: 76.62 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 1.77 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 8.2% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 3.54 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital Bed Density:

 3.5 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 100% of population
Total: 100% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 87% of population
Total: 98% of population
Urban: 0% of population
Rural: 13% of population
Total: 2% of population (2000)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 0.1% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 3,600 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 Fewer than 500 (2009 est.)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 4.2% (2004)

Obesity - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 13.5% (2004)

Education Expenditures:

 1.8% of GDP (2009)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 87.4%
Male: 93.1%
Female: 82.2% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 14 years
Male: 13 years
Female: 14 years (2009)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 22.1%
Male: 22.3%
Female: 21.5% (2007)

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Country Name:

 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:



 Name: Beirut
Geographic coordinates: 33 52 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:

 6 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Beqaa, Beyrouth (Beirut), Liban-Nord, Liban-Sud, Mont-Liban, Nabatiye

Note: two new governorates - Aakkar and Baalbek-Hermel - have been legislated but not yet implemented


 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 in 1990 to include changes necessitated by the Charter of Lebanese National Reconciliation (Ta'if Accord) of October 1989

Legal System:

 Mixed legal system of civil law based on the French civil code and religious laws covering personal status, marriage, divorce, and other family relations of the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian communities

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


 21 years of age; compulsory for all males; authorized for women at age 21 with elementary education; excludes military personnel

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Michel SULAYMAN (since 25 May 2008)

Head of government: Prime Minister Najib MIQATI (since 7 July 2011), Deputy Prime Minister Samir MOQBIL (since 7 July 2011)

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 on 25 May 2008 (next to be held in 2014); the prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly

Election results: Michel SULAYMAN elected president; National Assembly vote - 118 for, 6 abstentions, 3 invalidated; 1 seat unfilled due to death of incumbent

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Nuwab (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 on 7 June 2009 (next to be held in 2013)

Election results: percent of vote by group - March 8 Coalition 54.7%, March 14 Coalition 45.3%; seats by group - March 14 Coalition 71; March 8 Coalition 57

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:

 14 March Coalition: Democratic Left [Ilyas ATALLAH]; Democratic Renewal Movement [Nassib LAHUD]; Future Movement Bloc [Sa'ad al-HARIRI]; Kataeb Party [Amine GEMAYEL]; Lebanese Forces [Samir JA'JA]; Tripoli Independent Bloc
8 March Coalition: Development and Resistance Bloc [Nabih BERRI, leader of Amal Movement]; Free Patriotic Movement [Michel AWN]; Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc [Mohammad RA'AD] (includes Hizballah [Hassan NASRALLAH]); Nasserite Popular Movement [Usama SAAD]; Popular Bloc [Elias SKAFF]; Syrian Ba'th Party [Sayez SHUKR]; Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Ali QANSO]; Tashnaq [Hovig MEKHITIRIAN]
Independent: Democratic Gathering Bloc [Walid JUNBLATT, leader of Progressive Socialist Party]; Metn Bloc [Michel MURR]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Maronite Church [Patriarch Nasrallah SFAYR]
Other: note - most sects retain militias and a number of militant groups operate in Palestinian refugee camps

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Antoine CHEDID
Chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: [1] (202) 939-6300
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6324
Consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, Los Angeles

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Maura CONNELLY
Embassy: Awkar, Lebanon (Awkar facing the Municipality)
Mailing address: P. O. Box 70-840, Antelias, Lebanon; from US: US Embassy Beirut, 6070 Beirut Place, Washington, DC 20521-6070
Telephone: [961] (4) 542600, 543600
FAX: [961] (4) 544136

Flag Description:

 Three horizontal bands consisting of red (top), white (middle, double width), and red (bottom) with a green cedar tree centered in the white band; the red bands symbolize blood shed for liberation, the white band denotes peace, the snow of the mountains, and purity; the green cedar tree is the symbol of Lebanon and represents eternity, steadiness, happiness, and prosperity

National Symbols:

 Cedar tree

National Anthem:

 Name: "Kulluna lil-watan" (All Of Us, For Our Country!)
Lyrics/music: Rachid NAKHLE/Wadih SABRA

Note: adopted 1927; the anthem was chosen following a nationwide competition

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Economy - Overview:

 Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The government does not restrict foreign investment; however, the investment climate suffers from red tape, corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, high taxes, tariffs, and fees, archaic legislation, and weak intellectual property rights. The Lebanese economy is service-oriented; main growth sectors include banking and tourism. The 1975-90 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 in 2000 began an austerity program, reining in government expenditures, increasing revenue collection, and passing legislation to privatize 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 2002 Paris II Donors Conference. The Israeli-Hizballah conflict in July-August 2006 caused an estimated $3.6 billion in infrastructure damage, and prompted international donors to pledge nearly $1 billion in recovery and reconstruction assistance. Donors met again in January 2007 at the Paris III Donor Conference and pledged more than $7.5 billion to Lebanon for development projects and budget support, conditioned on progress on Beirut's fiscal reform and privatization program. An 18-month political stalemate and sporadic sectarian and political violence hampered economic activity, particularly tourism, retail sales, and investment, until the new government was formed in July 2008. Political stability following the Doha Accord of May 2008 helped boost tourism and, together with a strong banking sector, enabled real GDP growth of 7% per year in 2009-10 despite a slowdown in the region.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $59.37 billion (2010 est.)
$55.23 billion (2009 est.)
$50.9 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $39.25 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 7.5% (2010 est.)
8.5% (2009 est.)
9.3% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $14,400 (2010 est.)
$13,500 (2009 est.)
$12,600 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 4.7%
Industry: 16%
Services: 79.4% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 1.481 million

Note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (2007 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: NA%
Industry: NA%
Services: NA%

Unemployment Rate:


Population Below Poverty Line:

 28% (1999 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 405,425 (Palestinian refugees (UNRWA)); 50,000-60,000 (Iraq)
IDPs: 17,000 (1975-90 civil war, Israeli invasions); 200,000 (July-August 2006 war) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 33.4% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $8.414 billion
Expenditures: $11.31 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 21.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -7.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 133.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
148.2% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 4% (2010 est.)
1.2% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 3.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
10% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 8.337% (31 December 2010 est.)
9.568% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $3.212 billion (30 November 2009)
$2.832 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $77.8 billion (30 November 2009)
$65.8 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $3.8 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$3.21 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $92 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$82.07 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $64.12 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$56.98 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares:

 $12.59 billion (31 December 2010)
$12.89 billion (31 December 2009)
$9.641 billion (31 December 2008)

Agriculture - Products:

 Citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats


 Banking, tourism, food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 2.1% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 10.41 billion kWh (2009)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 97.2%
Hydro: 2.8%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 9.793 billion kWh (2009)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 1.114 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 106,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 78,760 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$4.688 billion (2010 est.)
-$7.244 billion (2009 est.)


 $5.466 billion (2010 est.)
$4.716 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Jewelry, base metals, chemicals, miscellaneous consumer goods, fruit and vegetables, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper

Exports - Partners:

 Syria 26.8%, UAE 13.5%, Saudi Arabia 6.4%, Turkey 5.2%, Qatar 4.1%, Switzerland 4% (2010)


 $17.73 billion (2010 est.)
$15.9 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals

Imports - Partners:

 US 10.4%, Syria 10.3%, Italy 7.6%, China 7.5%, France 6.9%, Ukraine 5.5%, Germany 5.3% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $44.52 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$39.16 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $30.45 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$30.74 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Lebanese Pound to Any Currency

Lebanese pounds (LBP) per US dollar -
1,507.5 (2010)
1,507.5 (2009)
1,507.5 (2008)
1,507.5 (2007)
1,507.5 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 887,800 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 2.875 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: repair of the telecommunications system, severely damaged during the civil war, now complete

Domestic: two mobile-cellular networks provide good service; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership exceeds 55 per 100 persons

International: country code - 961; submarine cable links to Cyprus, Egypt, and Syria; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean); coaxial cable to Syria (2009)

Broadcast Media:

 7 TV stations in operation, 1 of which is state-owned; more than 30 radio stations, 1 of which is state-owned; satellite and cable TV services are available; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible through partner stations (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 20, FM 30 (plus about a dozen unlicensed stations operating), shortwave 4 (2009)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 12 (2009)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 51,451 (2010)

Internet Users:

 1 million (2009)

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 7 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 5
Over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2010)


 Gas 102 km (2010)


 Total: 401 km
Standard gauge: 319 km 1.435-m gauge
Narrow gauge: 82 km 1.050-m gauge

Note: rail system unusable because of the damage done during fighting in the 1980s and in 2006 (2008)


 Total: 6,970 km (includes 170 km of expressways) (2005)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 29
By type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 12, carrier 11, refrigerated cargo 1, vehicle carrier 2
Foreign-owned: 3 (Syria 3)
Registered in other countries: 40 (Barbados 2, Cambodia 6, Comoros 3, Egypt 1, Georgia 1, Honduras 2, Liberia 1, Malta 7, Moldova 1, Panama 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4, Syria 2, Togo 6, unknown 2) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Beirut, Tripoli

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Military Branches:

 Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): Army ((Al Jaysh al Lubnaniya) includes Navy (Al Quwwat al Bahiriyya al Lubnaniya), Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Lubnaniya)) (2010)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2007)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 1,081,016
Females age 16-49: 1,115,349 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 920,825
Females age 16-49: 941,806 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 36,856
Female: 35,121 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 3.1% of GDP (2005 est.)

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Disputes - International:

 Lacking a treaty or other documentation describing the boundary, portions of the Lebanon-Syria boundary are unclear with several sections in dispute; since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shab'a Farms area in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights; the roughly 2,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has been in place since 1978

Illicit Drugs:

 Cannabis cultivation dramatically reduced to 2,500 hectares in 2002 despite continued significant cannabis consumption; 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; money laundering of drug proceeds fuels concern that extremists are benefiting from drug trafficking

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: Lebanon is a source and destination country for women and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; the country may also be a transit point for Eastern European women and children destined for sex trafficking in other Middle Eastern countries; women from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Madagascar who travel to Lebanon voluntarily with the assistance of recruitment agencies to work in domestic service often find themselves in conditions of forced labor; some Syrian women in street prostitution may be forced to engage in the sex trade and Syrian girls are reportedly brought to Lebanon for the purpose of prostitution

Tier rating: Tier 3 - the government neither made combating human trafficking a national priority during the reporting period nor allocated resources to protecting victims; it also made no concerted efforts to educate the Lebanese public regarding the issue and failed to show substantial progress in identifying foreign victims of trafficking; it failed to bring specific charges of forced labor or forced prostitution in cases involving abuses against migrant workers and did not provide stringent punishments that would deter such crimes; the government did, however, draft legislation providing increased protection to migrant domestic workers, transmit a draft anti-trafficking law to parliament for review, establish an office and hotline to receive workers' complaints, and improve recognition of trafficking indicators through training (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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