Photos of Lebanon

Beirut, Lebanon's capital, is built on a small peninsula; the growth of the city eastwards is bounded by foothills of the more mountainous interior of Lebanon (upper right). Beirut has been an urban center for 5,000 years. Throughout much of that time, the city has been the focus of both military and economic conflicts among neighboring city-states. Distinctive features visible in this astronaut photograph include the Rafic Hariri International Airport in the lower right, the city sports arena at image center, and several areas of green and open space, including a large golf course at image center. Also visible in the photo are several plumes of sediment along the coastline; the most striking plumes are near the airport. The general lack of vegetation in the airport may allow more soil transport by surface water runoff or wind. Photo courtesy of NASA.

Introduction

Background

Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French demarcated the region of Lebanon in 1920 and granted this area independence in 1943. Since independence, the country has been marked by periods of political turmoil interspersed with prosperity built on its position as a regional center for finance and trade. The country's 1975-90 civil war, which resulted in an estimated 120,000 fatalities, was followed by years of social and political instability. Sectarianism is a key element of Lebanese political life. Neighboring Syria has historically influenced Lebanon's foreign policy and internal policies, and its military occupied Lebanon from 1976 until 2005. The Lebanon-based Hizballah militia and Israel continued attacks and counterattacks against each other after Syria's withdrawal, and fought a brief war in 2006. Lebanon's borders with Syria and Israel remain unresolved.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

33 50 N, 35 50 E

Map references

Middle East

Area

total: 10,400 sq km

land: 10,230 sq km

water: 170 sq km

country comparison to the world: 168

Area - comparative

about one-third the size of Maryland

<p>about one-third the size of Maryland</p>

Land boundaries

total: 484 km

border countries (2): Israel 81 km, Syria 403 km

Coastline

225 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate

Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; the Lebanon Mountains experience heavy winter snows

Terrain

narrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains

Elevation

highest point: Qornet es Saouda 3,088 m

lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 1,250 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 63.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 11.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 12.3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 39.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 13.4% (2018 est.)

other: 23.3% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

1,040 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

the majority of the people live on or near the Mediterranean coast, and of these most live in and around the capital, Beirut; favorable growing conditions in the Bekaa Valley, on the southeastern side of the Lebanon Mountains, have attracted farmers and thus the area exhibits a smaller population density

Natural hazards

earthquakes; dust storms, sandstorms

Geography - note

smallest country in continental Asia; 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

People and Society

Nationality

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 descendants of the ancient Canaanites and prefer to be called Phoenicians

Languages

Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian

major-language sample(s):
كتاب حقائق العالم، المصدر الذي لا يمكن الاستغناء عنه للمعلومات الأساسية (Arabic)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Arabic audio sample:

Religions

Muslim 61.1% (30.6% Sunni, 30.5% Shia, smaller percentages of Alawites and Ismailis), Christian 33.7% (Maronite Catholics are the largest Christian group), Druze 5.2%, very small numbers of Jews, Baha'is, Buddhists, and Hindus (2018 est.)

note: data represent the religious affiliation of the citizen population (data do not include Lebanon's sizable Syrian and Palestinian refugee populations); 18 religious sects recognized

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.75% (male 581,015/female 554,175)

15-24 years: 14.98% (male 417,739/female 401,357)

25-54 years: 46.69% (male 1,296,250/female 1,257,273)

55-64 years: 9.62% (male 250,653/female 275,670)

65 years and over: 7.96% (male 187,001/female 248,479) (2020 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Lebanon. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 48.4

youth dependency ratio: 37.2

elderly dependency ratio: 11.2

potential support ratio: 8.9 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 33.7 years

male: 33.1 years

female: 34.4 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 95

Birth rate

13.35 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 137

Death rate

5.57 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 178

Net migration rate

-0.95 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

Population distribution

the majority of the people live on or near the Mediterranean coast, and of these most live in and around the capital, Beirut; favorable growing conditions in the Bekaa Valley, on the southeastern side of the Lebanon Mountains, have attracted farmers and thus the area exhibits a smaller population density

Urbanization

urban population: 89.1% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: -1.23% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

2.435 million BEIRUT (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

29 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

Infant mortality rate

total: 7.2 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 7.78 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 6.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 161

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.53 years

male: 77.12 years

female: 80 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 68

Drinking water source

improved: total: 100% of population

unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

2.1 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

2.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: total: 99% of population

unimproved: total: 1% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<100 (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout Lebanon; as of 6 October 2021, Lebanon has reported a total of 626,926 cases of COVID-19 or 9,185.13 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 122.54 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 6 October 2021, 24.21% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 95.1%

male: 96.9%

female: 93.3% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 12 years

female: 11 years (2014)

Environment

Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil deterioration, erosion; desertification; species loss; air pollution in Beirut from vehicular traffic and the burning of industrial wastes; pollution of coastal waters from raw sewage and oil spills; waste-water management

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

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

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 30.67 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 24.8 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 3.37 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; the Lebanon Mountains experience heavy winter snows

Land use

agricultural land: 63.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 11.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 12.3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 39.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 13.4% (2018 est.)

other: 23.3% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 89.1% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: -1.23% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 126

Major infectious diseases

note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout Lebanon; as of 6 October 2021, Lebanon has reported a total of 626,926 cases of COVID-19 or 9,185.13 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 122.54 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 6 October 2021, 24.21% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Food insecurity

exceptional shortfall in aggregate food production/supplies:

due to the ongoing financial and economic crisis - in August 2020, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia estimated that more than 55% of the population lived in poverty, up from 28% in 2019; current figures are likely to be higher due to a fall in households' purchasing power; the already worrisome economic conditions, with increasing unemployment, poverty, and skyrocketing inflation rates, have further worsened due to the COVID‑19 pandemic and the measures introduced to contain the spread of the disease

(2021)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2.04 million tons (2014 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 163,200 tons (2014 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 8% (2014 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 240 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 900 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 700 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

4.503 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

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

etymology: derives from the Semitic root "lbn" meaning "white" and refers to snow-capped Mount Lebanon

Government type

parliamentary republic

Capital

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

etymology: derived from the Canaanite or Phoenician word "ber'ot," meaning "the wells" or "fountain," which referred to the site's accessible water table

Administrative divisions

8 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Aakkar, Baalbek-Hermel, Beqaa (Bekaa), Beyrouth (Beirut), Liban-Nord (North Lebanon), Liban-Sud (South Lebanon), Mont-Liban (Mount Lebanon), Nabatiye

Independence

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

National holiday

Independence Day, 22 November (1943)

Constitution

history: drafted 15 May 1926, adopted 23 May 1926

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic and introduced as a government bill to the National Assembly or proposed by at least 10 members of the Assembly and agreed upon by two thirds of its members; if proposed by the National Assembly, review and approval by two-thirds majority of the Cabinet is required; if approved, the proposal is next submitted to the Cabinet for drafting as an amendment; Cabinet approval requires at least two-thirds majority, followed by submission to the National Assembly for discussion and vote; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of a required two-thirds quorum of the Assembly membership and promulgation by the president; amended several times, last in 2004

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil law based on the French civil code, Ottoman legal tradition, 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

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Lebanon

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: unknown

Suffrage

21 years of age; authorized for all men and women regardless of religion; excludes persons convicted of felonies and other crimes or those imprisoned; excludes all military and security service personnel regardless of rank

Executive branch

chief of state: President Michel AWN (since 31 October 2016)

head of government: Prime Minister Hassan DIAB (since 22 October 2020); note - the Lebanese Government is in "caretaker" status

cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president and National Assembly

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the National Assembly with two-thirds majority vote in the first round and if needed absolute majority vote in a second round for a 6-year term (eligible for non-consecutive terms); last held on 31 October 2016 (next to be held in 2022); prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly; deputy prime minister determined during cabinet formation

election results: Michel AWN elected president in second round; National Assembly vote - Michel AWN (FPM) 83 votes; note - in the initial election held on 23 April 2014, no candidate received the required two-thirds vote, and subsequent attempts failed because the Assembly lacked the necessary quorum to hold a vote; the president was finally elected in its 46th attempt on 31 October 2016

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Nuwab in Arabic or Assemblee Nationale in French (128 seats; members directly elected by listed-based proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms); prior to 2017, the electoral system was by majoritarian vote

elections: last held on 6 May 2018 (next to be held in 2022)

election results: percent of vote by coalition - NA; seats by coalition – Strong Lebanon Bloc (Free Patriotic Movement-led) 25; Future Bloc (Future Movement-led) 20; Development and Liberation Bloc (Amal Movement-led) 16; Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc (Hizballah-led) 15; Strong Republic Bloc (Lebanese Forces-led) 15; Democratic Gathering (Progressive Socialist Party-led) 9; Independent Centre Bloc 4; National Bloc (Marada Movement-led) 3; Syrian Social Nationalist Party 3; Tashnaq 3; Kata’ib 3; other 8; independent 4;  composition - men 122, women 6, percent of women 4.6%

note: Lebanon’s constitution states the National Assembly cannot conduct regular business until it elects a president when the position is vacant

Judicial branch

highest courts: Court of Cassation or Supreme Court (organized into 8 chambers, each with a presiding judge and 2 associate judges); Constitutional Council (consists of 10 members)

judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by Supreme Judicial Council, a 10-member body headed by the chief justice, and includes other judicial officials; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Council members appointed - 5 by the Council of Ministers and 5 by parliament; members serve 5-year terms

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; specialized tribunals, religious courts; military courts

Political parties and leaders

Al-Ahbash or Association of Islamic Charitable Projects [Adnan TARABULSI]
Amal Movement [Nabih BERRI]
Azm Movement [Najib MIQATI]
Ba’th Arab Socialist Party of Lebanon [Fayiz SHUKR]
Free Patriotic Movement or FPM [Gibran BASSIL]
Future Movement Bloc [Sa'ad al-HARIRI]
Hizballah [Hassan NASRALLAH]
Islamic Actions Front [Sheikh Zuhayr al-JU’AYD]
Kata'ib Party [Sami GEMAYEL]
Lebanese Democratic Party [Talal ARSLAN]
Lebanese Forces or LF [Samir JA'JA]
Marada Movement [Sulayman FRANJIEH]
Progressive Socialist Party or PSP [Walid JUNBLATT]
Social Democrat Hunshaqian Party [Sabuh KALPAKIAN]Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Ali QANSO]
Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Hanna al-NASHIF]
Tashnaq or Armenian Revolutionary Federation [Hagop PAKRADOUNIAN]

International organization participation

ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Wael HACHEM (since 15 March 2021)

chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 939-6300

FAX: [1] (202) 939-6324

email address and website:
info@lebanonembassyus.org

http://www.lebanonembassyus.org/

consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Dorothy SHEA (since 11 March 2020)

embassy: Awkar-Facing the Municipality, Main Street, Beirut

mailing address: 6070 Beirut Place, Washington DC  20521-6070

telephone: [961] (04) 543-600

FAX: [961] (4) 544-019

email address and website:
BeirutACS@state.gov

https://lb.usembassy.gov/

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 symbol(s)

cedar tree; national colors: red, white, green

National anthem

name: "Kulluna lil-watan" (All Of Us, For Our Country!)

lyrics/music: Rachid NAKHLE/Wadih SABRA

note: adopted 1927; chosen following a nationwide competition

Economy

Economic 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, complex customs procedures, high taxes, tariffs, and fees, archaic legislation, and inadequate intellectual property rights protection. 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 derailed Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern banking hub. Following the civil war, Lebanon rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily, mostly from domestic banks, which saddled the government with a huge debt burden. Pledges of economic and financial reforms made at separate international donor conferences during the 2000s have mostly gone unfulfilled, including those made during the Paris III Donor Conference in 2007, following the July 2006 war. The "CEDRE" investment event hosted by France in April 2018 again rallied the international community to assist Lebanon with concessional financing and some grants for capital infrastructure improvements, conditioned upon long-delayed structural economic reforms in fiscal management, electricity tariffs, and transparent public procurement, among many others.

The Syria conflict cut off one of Lebanon's major markets and a transport corridor through the Levant. The influx of nearly one million registered and an estimated 300,000 unregistered Syrian refugees has increased social tensions and heightened competition for low-skill jobs and public services. Lebanon continues to face several long-term structural weaknesses that predate the Syria crisis, notably, weak infrastructure, poor service delivery, institutionalized corruption, and bureaucratic over-regulation. Chronic fiscal deficits have increased Lebanon’s debt-to-GDP ratio, the third highest in the world; most of the debt is held internally by Lebanese banks. These factors combined to slow economic growth to the 1-2% range in 2011-17, after four years of averaging 8% growth. Weak economic growth limits tax revenues, while the largest government expenditures remain debt servicing, salaries for government workers, and transfers to the electricity sector. These limitations constrain other government spending, limiting its ability to invest in necessary infrastructure improvements, such as water, electricity, and transportation. In early 2018, the Lebanese government signed long-awaited contract agreements with an international consortium for petroleum exploration and production as part of the country’s first offshore licensing round. Exploration is expected to begin in 2019.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$79.51 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$99.76 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$106.93 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 97

Real GDP growth rate

1.5% (2017 est.)

1.7% (2016 est.)

0.2% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153

Real GDP per capita

$11,600 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$14,600 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$15,600 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 129

GDP (official exchange rate)

$53.253 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.8% (2019 est.)

6% (2018 est.)

4.4% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: RD (2020)

Moody's rating: C (2020)

Standard & Poors rating: D (2020)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 13.1% (2017 est.)

services: 83% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 87.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 13.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 21.8% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.5% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 23.6% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -46.4% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

potatoes, milk, tomatoes, apples, oranges, olives, wheat, cucumbers, poultry, lemons

Industries

banking, tourism, real estate and construction, food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating

Labor force

2.166 million (2016 est.)

note: excludes as many as 1 million foreign workers and refugees

country comparison to the world: 120

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 39% NA (2009 est.)

industry: NA

services: NA

Budget

revenues: 11.62 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 15.38 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

146.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

145.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover central government debt and exclude debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment

country comparison to the world: 4

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$12.37 billion (2017 est.)

-$11.18 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 195

Exports

$18.17 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$19.16 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

Exports - partners

Switzerland 27%, United Arab Emirates 15%, South Korea 11%, Saudi Arabia 7%, Kuwait 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, jewelry, shotguns, diamonds, scrap copper (2019)

Imports

$31.34 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$32.78 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 70

Imports - partners

United Arab Emirates 11%, China 10%, Italy 8%, Greece 8%, Turkey 7%, United States 6% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, packaged medicines, jewelry, gold (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$55.42 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$54.04 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 37

Debt - external

$33.077 billion (2019 est.)

$33.655 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 80

Exchange rates

Lebanese pounds (LBP) per US dollar -

1,517.5 (2020 est.)

1,513 (2019 est.)

1,506.5 (2018 est.)

1,507.5 (2014 est.)

1,507.5 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 882,175

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15.1 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 78

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 4,237,962

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 72.55 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 128

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

struggling with effects of economic malaise during pandemic and following explosion in Beirut port; Lebanon’s telecom infrastructure is relatively weak, and services are expensive; rural areas are less connected and have power cuts; state retains a monopoly over the Internet backbone and dominant ownership of the telecom industry; government backed improvements to fixed infrastructure; new landlines and fiber-optic networks provide faster DSL; limited 5G services; three international gateways through submarine cables; importer of broadcasting equipment from UAE; UAE investment in tech solutions (2021)

(2020)

domestic: fixed-line 13 per 100 and 62 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2019)

international: country code - 961; landing points for the IMEWE, BERYTAR AND CADMOS submarine cable links to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

7 TV stations, 1 of which is state owned; more than 30 radio stations, 1 of which is state owned; satellite and cable TV services available; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible through partner stations (2019)

Internet users

total: 4,769,039

percent of population: 78.18% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 420,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 7.19 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 93

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 21

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,981,937 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 56.57 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 5

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2019)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Heliports

1 (2013)

Pipelines

88 km gas (2013)

Railways

total: 401 km (2017)

standard gauge: 319 km 1.435-m gauge (2017)

narrow gauge: 82 km 1.050-m gauge (2017)

note: rail system is still unusable due to damage sustained from fighting in the 1980s and in 2006

country comparison to the world: 119

Merchant marine

total: 52

by type: bulk carrier 2, general cargo 37, oil tanker 1, other 12 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 118

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Beirut, Tripoli

container port(s) (TEUs): Beirut (1,229,100) (2019)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): Army Command (includes Presidential Guard Brigade, Land Border Regiments), Naval Forces, Air Forces; Lebanese Internal Security Forces Directorate (includes Mobile Gendarmerie); Directorate for General Security (DGS); Directorate General for State Security (2021)

note(s) - the commander of the LAF is also the commander of the Army; the LAF patrols external borders, while official checkpoints are under the authority of Customs and Internal Security Forces

Military expenditures

3% of GDP (2020 est.)

4.2% of GDP (2019)

4.9% of GDP (2018)

4.5% of GDP (2017)

5.1% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 29

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have approximately 80,000 active troops (77,000 Army; 1,500 Navy; 1,500 AF) (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the LAF inventory includes a wide mix of mostly older equipment, largely from the US and European countries, particularly France and Germany; since 2010, the US is the leading supplier of armaments (mostly second hand equipment) to Lebanon (2020)

Military service age and obligation

17-25 years of age for voluntary military service (including women); no conscription (2019)

Military - note

as of late 2021, the Lebanese military faced multiple challenges, including securing the border with war-torn Syria from infiltrations of militants linked to the Islamic State and al-Qa’ida terrorist groups and maintaining stability along its volatile border with Israel, where the Iranian-backed and Lebanon-based militant group Hizballah conducted a war with Israel in 2006 and tensions remained high, including occasional armed skirmishes; in 2021, the military also faced a financial crisis as government debt and national economic difficulties undercut its ability to fully pay and supply personnel, which has sparked domestic and international fears that the armed forces may disintegrate 

the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) has operated in the country since 1978, originally under UNSCRs 425 and 426 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security, and assist the Lebanese Government in restoring its effective authority in the area; following the July-August 2006 war, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1701 enhancing UNIFIL and deciding that in addition to the original mandate, it would, among other things, monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon; and extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons; UNIFIL had about 10,000 personnel deployed in the country as of September 2021

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Abdallah Azzam Brigades; al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade; Asbat al-Ansar; Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force; Hizballah; al-Nusrah Front (Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham); Palestine Liberation Front; PFLP-General Command; Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

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-controlled Golan Heights; the roughly 2,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon has been in place since 1978

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 479,537 (Palestinian refugees) (2020); 851,717 (Syria) (2021)

IDPs: 7,000 (2020)

stateless persons: undetermined (2016); note - tens of thousands of persons are stateless in Lebanon, including many Palestinian refugees and their descendants, Syrian Kurds denaturalized in Syria in 1962, children born to Lebanese women married to foreign or stateless men; most babies born to Syrian refugees, and Lebanese children whose births are unregistered

Illicit drugs

Lebanon is a transit country for hashish, cocaine, heroin, and fenethylene; fenethylene, cannabis, hashish, and some opium are produced in the Bekaa Valley; 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