Arab World


14. Lebanon > Manufacturing, Mining and Services

  • Primary and Extractive Industries
  • Energy
  • Manufacturing
  • Service Industries
  • Agriculture


Lebanon has few natural resources. There are deposits of iron ore, coal, lignite, phosphates, asphalt and salt, all of which are mined for domestic use only.
Lebanon currently imports all of its oil requirements, amounting to an estimated 92,000 barrels per day in 2008. The Kuwait Petroleum Corporation is a key supplier. In 2006, Lebanon and Qatar Petroleum International looked at the possibility of building a refinery in Lebanon, with a capacity of up to 200,000 barrels per day; this was postponed due to renewed tensions with Israel.
Lebanon has no known gas reserves of its own. In February 2006, Syria agreed to supply 1.5 million cubic feet per day from late 2007, but her own growing requirements and limited production have led Lebanon to seek supplementary supplies from Egypt. Lebanon announced plans to construct a second pipeline from Syria to the Zahrani power station in the south of Lebanon in April 2006. These plans were put on hold following the 2006 conflict with Israel.



Lebanon's state-owned power utility is Electricité du Liban (EdL), and operates under the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources and the Ministry of Finance. EdL is in charge of the majority of power generation, transmission, and distribution, and generates over 90 per cent of Lebanon's electricity. Electricité du Liban is contributing to the public deficit, and its reform is being debated in parliament. Figures for 2006 show that Lebanon generated 8.76 billion kWh of electricity and consumed 8.16 billion kWh.


Lebanon's industrial base has traditionally been small-scale. Prior to the civil war, the largest industrial employer was the food processing industry, followed by the well-developed textile industry. These combined to account for 44 per cent of industrial output, with furniture and wood-working factories accounting for 29 per cent, and mechanical industries accounting for 7 per cent. The remainder of industrial output was produced by the cement, ceramics, pharmaceutical and plastic industries. The civil war inflicted severe damage on the industrial sector in terms of human and capital resources. By 1985, one-quarter of the country's productive capacity had been destroyed, with 600-700 factories closed. Those that remained functioning did so at only a quarter of pre-war capacity.

In the past, this sector has performed well. According to the General Directorate for Industry, 459 new enterprises were established in 1996, up from 408 in 1994, employing around 3,400 people and requiring the approximate investment of LL101 billion ($65 million). The industrial sector reported a 3.7 per cent increase for new factories in 1998 compared with the same period in 1996. By 2001 industries performing well included cement, textiles and food processing as before, and also oil refining, wood and furniture manufacture, metal fabrication and mineral and chemical products.


In the years following the end of the civil war, most of the visitors to Lebanon were expatriates visiting their families. The thousands of Lebanese expatriates who return each summer give an important boost to the local economy. However the government is still working to attract visitors from the rich Gulf Arab states and the West. Figures for 1997 show that there were 558,000 visitors to Lebanon. This figure had risen to 673,000 in 1999 and 742,000 in 2000.

Prior to the civil war, the country was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Arab world, and the sector contributed over 15 per cent to Lebanon's national income. Prior to the Israeli campagin to oust Hezbollah from Lebanon in 2006, the tourism industry had begun to re-develop but since then visitor numbers have fallen. The hotel industry in Lebanon had embarked upon a restoration project valued at $500 million, aiming to construct 18,000 rooms by the end of 2002 and to restore Beirut's hotels to their former state.


About one-third of the country's land area, approximately 240,000 hectares, is cultivated. The primary agricultural areas are along the Mediterranean coast and the Bekaa Valley. Most of the farmland is rain fed. However, several irrigation schemes, including dams, are planned. These are expected to increase the total area of cultivated land by 60,000 hectares. With the completion of these dams, irrigated areas will total 125,000 hectares. Development of water resources is carried out by the National Office of the Litani River.

For many years, Lebanon has been an exporter of fruit and vegetables to other Arab states such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and Iraq. The principal crops are grapes, oranges, and tomatoes. Other prominent crops include olives, cane and beet sugar, potatoes, wheat, tobacco and barley. Principal livestock are goats and sheep, whilst principal livestock products are cow's milk, poultry eggs and poultry meat.

The civil war disrupted agricultural production, and the Israeli invasions had a devastating effect on cultivation, particularly in the south and the Bekaa Valley. In 1996, over production of tobacco flooded the market and pushed prices down. The Government subsequently placed restrictions on its production. In recent years the agricultural export sector has performed well due to the depreciation of the Lebanese pound, and has accounted for approximately 20 per cent of total exports. Around 39 per cent of land is under arable use, including nine per cent under permanent crops, one per cent under permanent pasture and eight per cent forest and woodland.

Agricultural Production in 2007


Int. $'000


Indigenous chicken meat












Cow milk, whole









Hen eggs, in shell






Almonds, with shell



Source: FAOSTAT, Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN



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