Lebanon and Its Main Problems

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Lebanon is a Middle Eastern country that is delimitated to the west by the Mediterranean and to the east by the Syro-African Depression. Lebanon borders Syria to the north and to the east, and Israel in the south.

Lebanon's climate is "Mediterranean"; mild to cool, wet winters, and hot, dry summers. Some of Lebanon's natural resources are the limestone, salt, water and iron ore. Like any other country there are natural hazards such as dust storms and sandstorms.

[ Population pressures: growth, urbanization, immigration.

Lebanon's population consists of 3, 777, 218 (this data is from July, 2004) Age structure:~ 0-14 years: 26.9% (male 517,356; female 496,888) 2004 estimation* ~ 15-64 years: 66.3% (male 1,197,430; female 1,305,339) ~ 65 years and over: 6.9% (male 117,930; female 142,275) Median age: total: 26.9 years male: 25.9 years female: 27.9 years (2004 est.) Population growth rate: 1.3% (2004 est.)

Birth rate: 19.31 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 6.28 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.) Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female Total population: 0.94 male(s)/female

Infant mortality rate: total: 25.48 deaths/1,000 live births male: 28.21 deaths/1,000 live births female: 22.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.35 years male: 69.91 years female: 74.91 years Total fertility rate: 1.95 children born/woman (2004 est.)

[ Economic issues:

The Lebanese economy is "service-oriented: main growth sectors include banking and tourism". There are no limitations on foreign exchange or capital movement, and "bank secrecy" is strictly enforced. Lebanon recently adopted a law to combat ‘money laundering'. Moreover there are no restrictions on foreign investment and there are no "country-specific U.S trade sanctions against Lebanon". Due to civil war, Lebanon's economy was highly affected, for instance central government institutions disintegrated. Therefore the estate was handicapped, and accumulated several debts, for example by 2001 Lebanon had reached $28 billion, or nearly 150% of GDP. As a matter of fact, economic performance was sluggish in 2000 and 2001 and there was no growth in 2000.

Lebanon's current program of reforms focuses on three main aspects:

-Economic restoration and "sustainable growth"
-"Fiscal consolidation and structural improvement in public sector finances -Monetary, financial, and price stability"

The Lebanese pound is firmly pegged to the American dollar since September 1999. Furthermore Lebanese currency has "undetermined competitiveness, with merchandise exports falling from 23% of GDP in 1989 to 4% in 2000". In 2002, the Lebanese government increased gasoline taxes, reduced expenditures, and approved a "value-added-tax"; all of these became effective in February 2002. In Lebanon is it hard to finance the government because of the slow money growth and dollarization, which results in a burden to the ‘Central Bank'. Some of the measurements that the government has put primary emphasis on privatization are: the telecom sector and electricity, Beirut port, and water utilities. Lebanon's is U.S' fourth largest source of imported goods; the U.S has more than 160 offices representing them there. For example thanks to the lift of the passport restriction in 1997, several American companies have opened branches or regional offices such as: Parsons, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Cisco Systems, Arthur Anderson, FedEx, UPS, Microsoft, American Airlines, General Electric, etc.


GDP: purchasing power parity - $ 17.82 billion (2003 est.)

GDP: real growth rate: 3% (2003 est.)

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