Lebanon - Economy

Economy

Lebanon’s economy follows a laissez-faire model. Most of the economy is dollarized, and the country has no restrictions on the movement of capital across its borders. The Lebanese government’s intervention in foreign trade is minimal.

The Lebanese economy grew 8.5% in 2008 and a revised 9% in 2009 despite a global recession. Real GDP growth is estimated to have slowed from 7.5% in 2010 to 1.5% in 2011, according to IMF preliminary estimates, with nominal GDP estimated at $41.5 billion in 2011. The Banque du Liban projects real GDP growth could reach 4% in 2012, with 6% inflation (versus 4% in 2011). The political and security instability in the Arab world, especially in Syria, is expected to have a negative impact on the domestic business and economic environment.

Lebanon faces major financial challenges, notably a very high level of public debt and large external financing needs. The 2010 public debt exceeded 150.7% of GDP, ranking fourth highest in the world as a percentage of GDP, though down from 154.8% in 2009. Finance minister Mohamad Chatah stated that the debt reached $47 billion in 2008 and would increase to $49 billion if privatization of two telecoms companies did not occur. The Daily Star wrote that exorbitant debt levels have "slowed down the economy and reduced the government's spending on essential development projects."

The urban population in Lebanon is noted for its commercial enterprise. Emigration has yielded Lebanese "commercial networks" throughout the world. Remittances from Lebanese abroad total $8.2 billion and account for one fifth of the country's economy. Lebanon has the largest proportion of skilled labor among Arab States.

The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon was established with the aim of promoting investment in Lebanon. In 2001, Investment Law No.360 was enacted to reinforce the organisation's mission.

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Famous quotes containing the word economy:

    It enhances our sense of the grand security and serenity of nature to observe the still undisturbed economy and content of the fishes of this century, their happiness a regular fruit of the summer.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    The aim of the laborer should be, not to get his living, to get “a good job,” but to perform well a certain work; and, even in a pecuniary sense, it would be economy for a town to pay its laborers so well that they would not feel that they were working for low ends, as for a livelihood merely, but for scientific, or even moral ends. Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
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    Wise men read very sharply all your private history in your look and gait and behavior. The whole economy of nature is bent on expression. The tell-tale body is all tongues. Men are like Geneva watches with crystal faces which expose the whole movement.
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