chapter  11
8 Pages

The Lebanese Republic

ByJ.S. Birks, C.A. Sinclair

The Lebanese population was, in 1974, the most educated of the Arab region, in terms of literacy. However, the widespread Lebanese diaspora in the Arab world has been a necessary precursor to the cosmopolitan nature of Beirut, which has created the appropriate atmosphere for a financial centre. The Lebanese economy is an extremely interesting one in the context of contemporary development in the Arab region. Lebanon’s economic strength dates from the demise of Cairo as an international banking centre, which Beirut superseded. Despite the long tradition of Lebanese outmigration, it is difficult to be specific about Lebanese expatriates. The uncertainties regarding the size of the Lebanese population and the very widespread distribution of those abroad make it difficult to comment with accuracy upon Lebanese migrants for employment and refugees. The Lebanese economy prior to 1974 provides planners in the Arab world with an example of a service economy, a model of a successful non-industrial development in a developing country.