Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Mary Han, Vanessa Ratten and Isabell M. Welpe
Chapter 20: Lebanon
Wafica A. Ghoul Introduction to Lebanon Lebanon is strategically located on the Mediterranean Sea. It has a surface area of 10 452 km2; its natural resources are limestone and water. Its population is estimated at 4.06 million, growing at 1.2 percent, the population density is 440 per km2, the active labor force is1.62 million, life expectancy at birth is 70.9, and the adult literacy rate is 87 percent. The official language is Arabic; however French and English are widely spoken. Lebanon has a free-market service-oriented economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition, where priority is given to the public sector and efforts are concentrated into one geographic area, namely, Beirut the capital. Lebanon also boasts a free and open trade regime; it is seeking to accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and gained observer status in 1999. Lebanon’s gross domestic product (GDP) is around US$20 billion, and GDP per capita is US$5490. Current figures for the sectors of the economy are not available, however in 2002 they were the following: industry 13 percent, services 68 percent, and public administration 13 percent of GDP, according to Gaspard (2004). It is worth mentioning that industry consists of mining, manufacturing, energy and water, whereas construction is included in services. Lebanon has several major problems, the most serious being that its national debt is around US$40 billion = 200 percent of GDP. It suffers from a trade deficit, with exports approximately at 20 percent of imports and a very high rate...
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