Brief About Lebanon
Name of Country
Republic of Lebanon, Capital Beirut
Location and Area
Lebanon is a small country of 10,452 sq km. From north to south, it extends 217 km and from east to west, it spans 80 km at its widest point. The country is bounded by Syria on both the north and east (over 375 Km) and by Palestine/Israel on the south (over 79 Km).
Lebanon has a Mediterranean climate characterized by a long, hot and dry summer, cool and rainy winter. Fall is a transitional season with a gradual lowering of temperature and little rain; spring occurs when the winter rains cause the vegetation to revive.
Lebanon was the homeland of the Phoenicians, a seafaring people that spread across the Mediterranean. After two centuries of Persian rule, Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great attacked and burned Tyre, the most prominent Phoenician city. Throughout the subsequent centuries leading up to recent times, the country became part of numerous succeeding empires, among them Egyptian Empire, Persian, Assyrian, Hellenistic, Roman, Eastern Roman, Arab, Seljuk, Mamluk, Crusader, and the Ottoman Empire. After World War II the French allied occupied Lebanon. Lebanon is an independent republic since 1943.
The number of the population is around 4.2 millions and is subdivided as: Arab: 95%. Armenian: 4%. Others: 1%.
Arabic is the official language. English and French are widely used.
The President is elected by the parliament for a six-years term. The President and Parliament choose the Prime Minister. Executive power is exercised through a Council of Ministers appointed by the Prime Minister and approved by the parliament. The Government determines overall policy, appoints senior administrators and submits proposed legislation to Parliament.
The Legislative Branch consists of a single-chamber Parliament of 128 members. Members are elected for four year terms in regional ballots, with the number of members for each region determined on the basis of size and population of each region, subject to an overall number of members for each religious community.
The Central bank of Lebanon
The Banque du Liban was established in 1964. Banque du Liban is the sole custodian of public funds. It supervises and regulates the banking system and is vested by law with the exclusive authority of issuing the national currency. BDL's primary role is to safeguard the currency and promote monetary stability, thereby creating a favorable environment for economic and social progress. BDL also advises the Government on various economic and financial matters.
The Lebanese Pound is the currency of Lebanon. There are no exchange control restrictions. Currently the exchange rate is 1507, 5 LBP / 1 USD.
There is no restriction for monetary transfers to or from Lebanon. In addition, there is no restriction for currencies transfers.
Lebanon is a member of the Arab League since May 1945 and is also a member of many international organizations including:
- The United Nations
- World Trade Organization
- World Bank
- International Monetary Fund Lebanon hosts 59 embassies and 47 consulates
The protection of the environment is an essential element in the country's economic and social development policies, hence Lebanon signed international agreements that include Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change - Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Laws of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Environmental Modification, and Marine Life Conservation.
Lebanon is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in winter & three hours ahead in summer time.
The Lebanese Economy
Lebanon has a long tradition of domestic free trade and investment policies, with free market pricing for most goods and services, unrestricted exchange and trade system and extensive links with the developed world in practically all economic activities. The Government has maintained a generally non-interventionist position toward private investment, and public ownership has generally been limited to infrastructure and utilities. There are no restrictions on the movement of capital and goods by residents and non-residents of the Republic, including on entry or exit of firms or on access to foreign exchange, which makes Lebanon a supportive system for private sector development. The Government continues to favor a strong role for the private sector in a liberal policy environment. It welcomes foreign investment in the economy. There are no legal restrictions on setting up and operating private businesses in Lebanon. Investment in infrastructure activities historically has been undertaken by the public sector. The freedom of exchange in Lebanon allows foreign investors to import and export capital freely in any form they wish. The Lebanese economy, characterized by freedom of exchange and transfers, is based on private initiative. The private sector contributes over 80% to aggregate demand and includes industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, trade and tourism, in addition to services such as banking and finance, hotels and restaurants, media and advertising, and consulting and engineering. The manufacturing and industrial sectors contribute approximately one-fifth of the national income. They are provided only with a limited level of protection from international competition.
The Stock Exchange
Lebanon stock exchange essentially refers to the Beirut stock exchange. Lebanon stock exchange plays a pivotal role in the economic sector, specifically in the financial reconstruction of the country. On tracing the history of the stock exchange of Beirut it can be clearly noticed that it has experienced a number of ups and downs over the years of its existence. Established in 1920, by the Lebanese Government, the Lebanese Stock Exchange dealt mostly in gold and foreign currencies. Lebanon Stock exchange was the first of its kind in the whole of Middle East and it attracted plenty of foreign investments, especially from France and Syria.
The stock exchange in Lebanon underwent a number of amendments. The fate of Lebanon Stock exchange suffered a heavy blow when the stock exchange was closed down in 1983 as a result of the Lebanese war. Today, the Beirut stock exchange has regained life once again and is making a substantial effort in rebuilding the economic and financial sector of the country. Stocks, Shares, company bonds etc are principal features of the Lebanon stock exchange.
The Lebanon stock exchange is, at present, assisting in the process of recovery of the other sectors in the Lebanese economy.
Despite Lebanon's shaky political and economic situation, millions of dollars have been invested in state-of-the-art warehouse facilities in Beirut in an attempt to re-establish the Lebanese capital as a regional trading and transport hub.
The focus has been "Beirut Free Trade Zone", established in 1995 and which offers business and financial incentives, including the possibility of 100% foreign ownership, customs exemptions for goods entering and leaving the free zone, long-term, low-cost land and building leases and low-cost utility rates for industries.
In addition to Beirut port, Lebanon has free trade zones in Tripoli port and Selaata, and a duty free shop at the Beirut International Airport