Some Interesting Facts About Lebanon
Last Updated - November 2014
Recent (and less recent) Events
President Michel SULAYMAN’s term as President and head of state ended
in May 2014, since when there has been a vacuum as successive
parliamentary votes have failed to achieve the necessary majority for a
successful election. This is not unusual; in 2008 Lebanese politicians were
unable to agree on a successor for over seven months. Meanwhile, the
government of Tammam SALAM continues.
No-one knows how many Syrians have crossed the border; some come to
their second homes, some as refugees with only the clothes they stand up in.
An estimate of one and a half millions is widely accepted.
This influx has brought in money, poverty and stressed the already
creaking infrastructure as all need water, electricity and food. New dams
are being constructed and a major power station re-furbished, but
this is not enough.
Lebanon largely avoided the banking crisis and so has not suffered the
financial issues seen in Europe and the US. This meant that GDP growth
was 8-9% in 2008, 09, 10 and 11 but slowed to 1-2% for the last two years.
The PPP GDP per capita is estimated to have been over $16,000 in in 2013,
making a growth that has exceed 60% in the last 10 years.
Beirut's city centre has been rebuilt and is as vibrant and colourful
as it ever was in the good old days. The road network has been reconstructed and continues to undergo major improvement, most of the links between the major coastal cities now being motorway. Beirut's deep water port has a container terminal, opened in 2004, and the new international Airport is a five minute drive from Beirut city centre.
Lebanon remains a well kept secret. With peaks over 3,000 metres skiing is a popular activity with ski-slopes less than an hour’s drive from the main cities. Lebanese cuisine is well-known, and is matched by the less well-known local wines. The coast line provides harbours for local fishing vessels and marinas for pleasure craft.
Lebanon has been a trading nation since before the days of the Roman Empire and for many native Lebanese, three languages are still the norm. This combination of history, location and culture means that the usual attitude is that foreigners are to be made welcome.
Languages: Arabic; English & French widely spoken.
Currency: Lebanese Lira (pegged to the US dollar with $1=1500, variation1%).
Time Zone: Lebanese time is G.M.T. +2 hours in winter and G.M.T. +3 hours in summer.
Government: Lebanon is a Republic, having received independence in 1943 from the French Mandate. Executive power is confessionally shared between the President, Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House who are Christian, Sunni and Shiite respectively.
Most of the information in this section has been plagiarized from the document Business Companion to Lebanon, published by the British Embassy’s UK Trade & Investment section. The BLBG are grateful for their permission to use it. Any errors or omissions are, however, ours. We hope you find the information useful.
Further information can be found in the following links