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Bekaa Governorate

Area Size: 1,433 Km2
Population: 519,607 (2016)
Districts: West Bekaa, Rashaya, Zahleh
Administrative Center: Zahleh
Number of municipalities: 87
Number of Projects that benefited from IDAL’s incentives: 5
Unemployment rate: 6% (2011)

 

LOCATION AND TOPOGRAPHY:

 

The governorate has an altitude ranging between 800 to 1100 meters above sea level. It is covered in main agricultural areas and natural areas with few mixed rural areas. Lying on a plain between two mountain ranges, Mount Lebanon to the west and the AntiLebanon to the east, the Bekaa has an overall Mediterranean climate with a more arid tendency in the north. It is crossed by two rivers journeying in the opposite direction, the Orontes (Al Asi) to the north and the Litani to the south which includes Lebanon’s largest dam, the Qaraoun river, with a capacity of 220 million cubic meters of water. The governorate also includes Lebanon’s largest wetland in Ammiq.

 

MAIN ECONOMIC ACTIVITY:


  • Agriculture: The region’s economy relies largely on agricultural production,. The governorate’s permanent agricultural land covers an area of 165,660 Dounum, 31% of which is dedicated to the plantation of raisins, followed by stone fruits (28.4%) and olives (20.9%) [1].
  • Industry: There are 323 industrial companies in the Bekaa, accounting for 8% of total industrial firms in Lebanon [2]. 43.02% of those firms operate in the agro-food sector [3]. Industrial activity is concentrated in Zahle, which accounts for 278 industrial companies [4].


COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES:


  • 10 universities and 5 technical /vocational schools.
  • The region has one of the best soil quality in Lebanon, making it one of the major agricultural intensive regions in the country.
  • Research Centers:
    • Lebanese Agriculture Research Institute (LARI): a governmental organization under Minister of Agriculture that conducts applied and basic scientific research for the development and advancement of the agricultural sector in Lebanon. It has 3 research centers located in the Bekaa.
    • Advancing Research and Enhancing Communities (AREC): Center of the American University of Beirut which offers experimental learning programs in addition to a research center.
    • Beirut Arab University Research Center for Environment & Development: covers a breadth of research areas and interests, including integrated management of natural resources, renewable energy, and solid waste management.
    • The Food Quality Center FQC, is an entity within the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Zahle and the Bekaa. It serves the agro-food industry sector in quality assurance and food safety, as well as microbiological , physico-chemical and toxins testing for all areas of agro food industries.
  • 7 big investments have already been undertaken in the industrial and agro food sectors, totaling more than USD 113.4 million, creating more than 694 direct jobs, and 3260 indirect jobs.
  • Availability of Ryak Airport which could serve as a main export gateway once operational.


INVESTMENT OPPORTUNTIES:


  • Agriculture: The two rivers and fertile land make of the Bekaa an agricultural cluster which attracts investors through low supply prices of agricultural products, proximity that reduces transactions costs, and expertise from the local agricultural manpower.
  • Agro-Food: the presence of vast agricultural land has boosted the agro-food sector in the Governorate, which is home to 30% of the total number of agro-industrial companies in Lebanon, the second highest rate after Mount Lebanon.
    • Dairy Products: the governorate is home to more than 75% of Lebanon’s cows, 45% of goats and 35% of sheep, producing 188 tons of milk a day. There are approximately 150 creameries in the governorate with a predominance of small traditional dairy operations.
    • Wine Production: Geographic, climatic, demographic and economic characteristics of the Bekaa play a key role in the development of wine production in this region. The Bekaa valley encompasses 50% of Lebanese wineries which produce 7.700.000 bottles.
    • Fruit Preserves, and Pickled Products: More than 90% of permanent agricultural land is used for the production of olives, raisins, and seed and stone fruits. The governorate offers many advantages such as low labor cost, ample availability of water, and proximity to plantations.
      (75cl) per year equivalent to 74% of the global Lebanese production of 10.500.000 bottles per year [5]. Many wineries have succeeded in creating a vertically integrated business with vineyards and wine cellars as well as distribution companies locally and abroad. 
  • Eco-Tourism: The natural landscape and the presence of Lebanon’s largest wetland in Ammiq, an important flyways for birds and other wildlife, provides important opportunities for eco-tourism development. The villages of Zahlé, Machgara, Niha, Anjar, Qab Elias, Kfar Zabad, Chtaura, and Furzul are the area's main tourism destinations.


[1] Ministry of Agriculture, 2010. Latest Available data.
[2] Companies with more than 8 employees - Directory of Exports and Industrial Firms 2015-2016
[3] Companies with more than 8 employees - Directory of Exports and Industrial Firms 2015-2016
[4] Companies with more than 8 employees - Directory of Exports and Industrial Firms 2015-2016
[5] Wine Industry in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon Food-Processing Industry as a Basis For Community Dynamics and Local Socio-Economic Development, 2013

WEST BEKAA DISTRICT

Area Size: 470 Km2
Population:  129,540 (2016)
Administrative Center: Joub Jannine
Number of Municipalities: 31

Get in Touch
Lazarieh Tower, 4th Floor, Emir Bechir Street, Riad El-Solh Beirut, Lebanon, P.O.Box 113-7251
Phone
+961 1 983306 / 7 / 8
Fax
+961 1 983302 /3
INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN WEST BEKAA 2017
REGIONAL MAP - BEKAA (French)