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....................................................................................................................................
ECONOMIC OVERVIEW -
Government
Economic Overview
   
.
Economic Perspectives 2004
....................................................................................................................................
GOVERNMENT


Country name:
conventional long form: Lebanese Republic conventional short form: Lebanon

Government type:
Republic

Capital:
Beirut

Independence:
22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)


National holiday:
Independence Day, 22 November (1943)

Constitution:
23 May 1926.

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

Suffrage:
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 Salim al-HUSS (since 4 December 1998)
- cabinet:
Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president and members of the National Assembly; the current Cabinet was formed in 1998

Elections:
- President elected by the National Assembly for a six-year term.
- Election last held 15 October 1998
- 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 LAHOUD elected president; National Assembly vote : 118 votes in favor, 0 against, 10 abstentions

Flag description :
Three horizontal bands of red (top), white (double width), and red with a green and brown cedar tree centered in the white band

....................................................................................................................................


ECONOMIC 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 has enabled the central government to restore control in Beirut, begin collecting taxes, and regain access to key port and government facilities. Economic recovery has been helped by a financially sound banking system and resilient small- and medium-scale manufacturers, with family remittances, banking services, manufactured and farm exports, and international aid as the main sources of foreign exchange.

Lebanon's economy has made impressive gains since the launch of "Horizon 2000," the government's $20 billion reconstruction program in 1993. Real GDP grew 8% in 1994 and 7% in 1995 before Israel's Operation Grapes of Wrath in April 1996 stunted economic activity. During 1992-98, annual inflation fell from more than 100% to 5%, and foreign exchange reserves jumped to more than $6 billion from $1.4 billion.

Burgeoning capital inflows have generated foreign payments surpluses, and the Lebanese pound has remained relatively stable. Progress also has been made in rebuilding Lebanon's war-torn physical and financial infrastructure. Solidere, a $2-billion firm, is managing the reconstruction of Beirut's central business district; the stock market reopened in January 1996; and international banks and insurance companies are returning.

The government nonetheless faces serious challenges in the economic arena. It has had to fund reconstruction by tapping foreign exchange reserves and boosting borrowing. Reducing the government budget deficit is a major goal of the LAHOUD government. The stalled peace process and ongoing violence in southern Lebanon could lead to wider hostilities that would disrupt vital capital inflows. Furthermore, the gap between rich and poor has widened in the 1990's, resulting in grassroots dissatisfaction over the skewed distribution of the reconstruction's benefits and leading the government to shift its focus from rebuilding infrastructure to improving living conditions.


GDP : purchasing power parity $15.8 billion (1998 est.)

GDP : real growth rate :
3% (1998 est.)

GDP per capita : purchasing power parity $4,500 (1998 est.)

GDP : composition by sector:
agriculture: 4%
industry: 23%
services: 73% (1997 est.)

Labor force : 1 million
Labor force by occupation : services 62%, industry 31%, agriculture 7% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate :
18% (1997 est.)

Budget:
revenues : $4.9 billion
expenditures : $7.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

Industries : banking; food processing; jewelry; cement; textiles; mineral and chemical products; wood and furniture products; oil refining; metal fabricating

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

Electricity production :
8.4 billion kWh (1997 est.)

Electricity production by source :
fossil fuel : 87.72%
hydro : 12.28%

Electricity consumption :
6.01 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity imports :
310 million kWh (1996)

Agriculture products :
citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco, hemp (hashish); sheep, goats

Exports :
$711 million (f.o.b., 1997)

Exports commodities :
foodstuffs and tobacco 20%, textiles 12%, chemicals 11%, metal and metal products 11%, electrical equipment and products 10%, jewelry 10%, paper and paper products 8% (1997)

Exports partners :
Saudi Arabia 14%, UAE 9%, France 7%, Syria 6%, US 6%, Kuwait 4%, Jordan 4%, Turkey 4%

Imports :
$7.5 billion (c.i.f., 1997)

Imports commodities :
foodstuffs 29%, machinery and transport equipment 28%, consumer goods 18%, chemicals 9%, textiles 5%, metals 5%, fuels 3%, agricultural foods 3% (1997)

Imports partners :
Italy 13%, US 9%, France 9%, Germany 8%, Switzerland 7%, Japan 4%, UK 4%, Syria 4% (1997)

Debt external :
$3 billion (1998 est.)

Economic aid recipient :
$3.5 billion (pledges 1997-2001)

Currency :
1 Lebanese pound (£L) = 100 piasters

Exchange rates :
Lebanese pounds (£L) per US$1 - 1,508.0 (January 1999), 1,516.1 (1998), 1,539.5 (1997), 1,571.4 (1996), 1,621.4 (1995), 1,680.1 (1994)

Fiscal year :
calendar year
....................................................................................................................................
BUSINESS
INFORMATION
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Flowers delivery Lebanon
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Jewelry manufacturer Lebanon
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Hotels all over Syria
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