Ireland Bruised Lebanon, relies on the solidarity of its large diaspora in the world, including 1.2 million people in Africa
Explosions in Beirut: the international community offers aid to Lebanon
© REUTERS / Aziz Taher Apocalyptic scenes reigned in Beirut after a double explosion on Tuesday August 4th. Here, the remains of a building near the port, August 5, 2020. As Lebanon tries to deal with the damage from the double explosion in Beirut on Tuesday August 4, messages of support are pouring in from all over the world. The leaders continue to offer aid to this country, already ravaged by one of the most serious economic crises in its history.
Since the end of the 19th century, several waves of Lebanese immigration have followed one another on the African continent. This 1.2 million strong diaspora plays an important economic role in most countries of West Africa.
The some 14 million people of Lebanese origin scattered around the world send, according to the World Bank (WB), between 6 and 8 billion dollars each year to their families back home. Money that feeds Beirut's banking system.
A study, dating from 2009, estimated transfers from the diaspora at 22% of Lebanese GDP. While they originate primarily from the United States, Brazil, the Near and Middle East or Europe, West Africa also participates in these transfers.
Port of Beirut: the catastrophe which adds to the economic collapse
© Maxar Technologies / via REUTERS Satellite image of the port of Beirut after the double explosion on August 4th. Located in the heart of Beirut, the port is one of the main economic lungs of Lebanon. The importance of its infrastructure is all the more critical as the country imports the vast majority of its food needs. For the Lebanese, the explosion in the port of the capital is one catastrophe too many in a context of economic and social crisis.
Several migratory waves
From the end of the 19th century, population growth, sectarian conflicts and the refusal of conscription in the Levant under Ottoman domination caused a first wave of departures mainly to Latin America.
The largest Lebanese community, or of Lebanese origin, is established in Latin America, in particular in Brazil (6,000,000). Argentina (1,500,000), Colombia (840,000) and Mexico come next. In these countries, these Lebanese constitute a perfectly assimilated fourth generation, often with high economic and political responsibilities.
There would be approximately 300,000 Lebanese settled in West Africa, including at least 80,000 in Ivory Coast, 40,000 in Guinea and 30,000 in Senegal .... There were already in 1897 in the city of Dakar , a dozen "Lebanese peddlers".
Explosions in Beirut. The EU releases 33 million euros in emergency aid for Lebanon
© REUTERS / Bader Helal General view showing the damage following the explosion of Tuesday 4 August 2020, in the port area of Beirut , in Liban. Photo taken with a drone on August 6, 2020. This sum should cover the immediate needs of emergency services and hospitals in the capital, the European Commission said.
A second wave of immigration of traders and intermediaries began at the beginning of the 20th century, partly at the request of France, in order to strengthen its economic presence in this part of the continent.
The third wave of emigration began in the 1960s, then continued during the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990).
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Lebanese’s first economic activity was the trade in fabrics, peanuts and various articles. Today, their sons or grandsons are active in other fields such as transportation, industry, food, real estate and many more.
In Senegal, today there are hundreds of doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, engineers, teachers, deputies and ministers in this community. Very present in the liberal professions and industry, the Lebanese have become Senegal's leading investors. In Côte d'Ivoire, they are said to be at the head of 1,500 commercial and industrial companies.
Lebanon: Trump says he will attend an
support conference on Sunday LEBANON-SECURITY-EXPLOSION-TRUMP: Lebanon: Trump says he will attend an support conference on Sunday © Reuters / JOSHUA ROBERTS LEBANON: TRUMP SAYS THAT HE WILL ATTEND AN WASHINGTON SUPPORT CONFERENCE ON SUNDAY (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he would take part in a conference call Sunday with his Lebanese, French and other leaders on aid to the Lebanon after the devastating explosion on Tuesday in Beirut.
A central role in West African economies
In general, Lebanese economic and social actors represent a substantial part of West African dynamism. In the Ivory Coast, around 60% of the housing stock is believed to be owned by the community of Lebanese origin, particularly in Cocody or Marcory. The distribution sector (80%), the industrial sector (40%), commerce (75%) or forestry (55%).
Compete in the 1990s by the arrival of Chinese traders in Dakar or Abidjan, Lebanese wholesalers are gradually disappearing from these sectors to reorient themselves towards industry, transport and services.
Between 1991 and 2005, the Lebanese diaspora would have multiplied by 5, going from 2.5 to 13 million people around the world, including 1.2 million on the African continent according to the academic Gérard-François Dumont. While the population of Lebanon did not exceed 4.5 million in 2005, it is 6.5 million today.
A still strong link with Lebanon
In Africa, these mainly Shiite communities have preserved their cultural identity and their link with the land of the cedar. "Whatever the quality of its integration into the host societies, the Lebanese diaspora always shows its dual allegiance by worrying about the political and economic future of the country of origin. This has been reflected throughout the contemporary history of Lebanon, by the help brought by the diaspora to the mother country, especially at the most difficult moments "wrote in 1994 the academic Mohamed Amir Abdoulkarim.
After the disaster that has just hit Beirut, Lebanon can count on the solidarity of its large diaspora both in Africa and in the world.
Lebanon: President Aoun promises that aid will go where it is needed .
LEBANON-S-CURIT-AOUN: Lebanon: President Aoun promises that aid will go where it is needed © Reuters / Dalati Nohra LEBANON: PRESIDENT AOUN PROMISES HELP WILL GO WHERE IT'S NEEDED PARIS (Reuters) - Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Saturday that the investigation into the August 4 explosion in the port of Beirut will not be able to succeed very quickly and that international aid will go where it is needed.