The "Pearl of the Middle East": "Lebanon, Its Liberal Economic System Is Based on Competition And Private Property"
The Republic of Lebanon, with a total area of 10,452k and 3.9 million of population, is situated in the Levant on the easternmost part of the Mediterranean Sea in Southwest Asia. Lebanon's coastal location, high mountain backbone, and a Mediterranean climate have greatly influenced the country's history, peoples, and economy. Visitors can count on 300 sunny days every year, and the highest peaks covered with snow four months a year allow winter sports in six ski resorts. In the spring, it is possible to ski in the mountains and swim in the Mediterranean sea on the same day. Lebanon was settled more than 7,000 years ago and later evolved as the heart of seafaring Phoenicia. At this time, the letter of alphabet was made. Following centuries of Ottoman control, France ruled Lebanon under a League of Nations mandate after the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I (1914-1918). During World War II (1939- 1945) Lebanon became an independent republic on Nov. 22, 1943. Two years later, Lebanon became a founding member of the League of Arab States and, later, of the United Nations. Lebanon's cultural heritage is remarkable, and some archeological sites like Baalbeck, Byblos, Anjar and Tyre and listed among UNESCO's world heritage sites. The official language is Arabic. French, English and Armenian are widely spoken. At the outset of the 19th Century, professors, poets, journalists and historians convened in Lebanese cultural institutions to revive old Arab traditions and extol the value of modern culture. Lebanon's seven major universities and numerous specialized colleges were thus founded. For example, the American University in Beirut, founded in 1866, offers a liberal education that has trained many of the regions leaders, educators and scientists. And also St. Joseph University, founded in 1875, is a Francophonic university. A Lebanese state university was founded in 1967 comprising faculties of law, medicine, arts and science. Moreover, Lebanon's nation-wide network of elementary and secondary public and private schools lay a strong foundation for further university education and vocational training. Because Lebanon is a country where three languages are commonly spoken, there are schools that teach in Arabic, French and English. Lebanon provides a wide variety of schools from which parents can choose, depending on which language of instruction they prefer. Lebanon is a Parliamentary Democratic Republic, based on the principle of the separation of powers and a system of checks and balances. Legislative power is exercised by the parliament, headed by a Speaker of Parliament. The Parliament, which is elected every four years, promulgates laws and supervises government policy. Seats in Parliament are divided among Christian and Muslim communities, in proportion to the size and population of each region. The President of Republic is elected by the Parliament every six years. A cabinet headed by a Prime Minister, executive power rests with the Council of Ministers and judicial power is autonomous and remains fully in the control of the courts.
The liberal economic system in Lebanon is based on competition and private property. It has a long tradition of free foreign exchange market, full currency convertibility, free movement of capital and it has a solid banking system making Lebanon an ideal country for conducting business. The country offers investors a wide range of investment opportunities with limited legal restrictions in all sectors of the economy. Also the business environment is characterized by an extensive banking secrecy, skilled human resources with a literacy rate of 81%, a workforce that is well-educated and well-trained. Given its strategic geographical location, Lebanon represents a point of entry to a large Arab market. Lebanon and Korea enjoy a strong relationship. Korea is a big trading partner for Lebanon and Korean products and goods are well known in Lebanon. Korea exports US$100 million worth of goods. The two countries hold respective diplomatic representations that compose a cornerstone for a further increase in ties that links the both people and governments. Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the establishment of a consultative mechanism between both ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Lebanon was signed (5/10/2005). Invitations from the Republic of Korea to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send officers to participate in different training courses include a national informatization expert course by the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity. The cuisine of Lebanon like its culture is rich and diverse. The Lebanese gastronomy is a rich mixture of various products and ingredients coming from the diverse Lebanese regions. It is known, above all, for its countless dishes of savory hors-doeuvres that appeal to all tastes. Thousands of years of history, pleasant climatic conditions, incredible natural beauty, a very rich culture, active financial market, a vibrant nightlife and delicious food justify Lebanon's title as the "Pearl of the Middle East".