Lebanese in West Africa: The Diaspora’s role in Economic Development

150 years ago, the Lebanese fled the oppression of the Ottoman Empire in search of better opportunities abroad and landed on the shores of Colonial West Africa. Fast forward to present day, the Lebanese diaspora now dominate various sectors of the West African economy: from real estate, to gas stations, hospitality, manufacturing, trade, agriculture, construction, retail, textiles, and the diamond and gold industry.

Lebanese have certainly played an economic role in the region, generating new and family-owned businesses along the way. Now made up of fourth or fifth-generation inhabitants, the West African Lebanese community are a vital group that are no doubt enjoying much economic success.

A Rise in Employment Opportunities

The Lebanese diaspora plays an important role in the economic development of the countries they reside in which include: Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana, and Nigeria to name a few. Beyond their well-known roles as entrepreneurs and their capabilities in diversifying the economy, the West African Lebanese community promoted trade, created various businesses, and provided the locals job opportunities where they also helped benefit them with essential knowledge and skills for the sector they’re working in. The significant role of the Lebanese diaspora in this case was also providing the youth segments job opportunities, which helped keep them off the streets and stray away from violence. As stated in the book The Lebanese in Ibadan, Nigeria, it was estimated that by 2012, over 53,000 Nigerians were working in Lebanese-owned industries in Ibadan, and this is apart from the many other business ventures and supermarkets in the city. For instance, a company called Zartech Foods that was launched back in 1994 had employed 180 local staff. Fast forward to 2006, this number had grown to more than 3,000 Nigerian employees. This number has exceeded in the past years and this is besides the other thousands of workers that are employed in other companies under Zartech’s group (Olaniyi, R., & Ajayi, O. 2014).

Dominant Lebanese roles in Economic Growth As the Lebanese dominated several countries’ economic sectors, they helped increase West Africa’s GDP and more specifically helped facilitate the reduction of imported products into the countries they resided in. The Lebanese expatriate businessmen had the innate gift and talent to quickly grasp future opportunities that lay ahead of the business sector. They launched medium and large-scale industrial production to provide consumers with several in demand products and sell them at affordable and relatively cheap prices. The most significant sector the Lebanese contributed and invested in is the food and beverage industry. This provided the region with a high economic value and contributed towards ensuring food safety.

For instance, when the Nigerian government in 2002 banned the importation of some food products, the Lebanese were able to manufacture and provide them locally. This later unlocked new trade opportunities between neighboring countries which greatly diversified the overall region’s economy as well. Establishing Schools, Hotels, and Hospitals Apart from being the most successful of expatriate entrepreneurs in West Africa, the Lebanese significantly impact the social and economic status of the region as well. Their versatility has led to them establishing educational institutions for the Lebanese, local, and other expatriate communities. The schools have grown from employing a few local teachers to now becoming some of the top educational institutions in the region with over 30 teachers, if not more. The Lebanese diaspora were known to be very strategic, adapting well to changing conditions, and filling the needs of their surroundings. If they saw a need that had to be fulfilled in a neighborhood or surrounding area, then they would quickly act to build and provide it. And so, they went on to build hotels and hospitals which not only boosted the sectors but aided their origin countries financially as well. What makes Lebanese stronger than other expatriates is their vast network, where they can always rely on their community for any knowledge and information regarding the present and future ventures whenever they need it.

The West African Lebanese are highly successful educated entrepreneurs who are superb in thinking, planning, and investing for the future ahead instead of relying on the present. They can foresee what is to come and through their fast decision capabilities, they’re able to drive benefits to the society they are a part of and elevate them economically. They’ve truly become an asset to the West African region.

 

 

Links: Olaniyi, R., & Ajayi, O. (2014). THE LEBANESE IN IBADAN, NIGERIA, 1986-2012. Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria,23, 131-149. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24768945 http://www.ibadaninternationalschool.com/index.php/homepage/history https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lebanese-west-africas-leading-merchant-community-victoria-crandall/ https://mylebanonmyhome.com/are-we-the-worlds-most-successful-diaspora-maybe/

Lebanese in West Africa: The Diaspora’s role in Economic Development

150 years ago, the Lebanese fled the oppression of the Ottoman Empire in search of better opportunities abroad and landed on the shores of Colonial West Africa. Fast forward to present day, the Lebanese diaspora now dominate various sectors of the West African economy: from real estate, to gas stations, hospitality, manufacturing, trade, agriculture, construction, retail, textiles, and the diamond and gold industry.

Lebanese have certainly played an economic role in the region, generating new and family-owned businesses along the way. Now made up of fourth or fifth-generation inhabitants, the West African Lebanese community are a vital group that are no doubt enjoying much economic success.

A Rise in Employment Opportunities

The Lebanese diaspora plays an important role in the economic development of the countries they reside in which include: Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana, and Nigeria to name a few. Beyond their well-known roles as entrepreneurs and their capabilities in diversifying the economy, the West African Lebanese community promoted trade, created various businesses, and provided the locals job opportunities where they also helped benefit them with essential knowledge and skills for the sector they’re working in. The significant role of the Lebanese diaspora in this case was also providing the youth segments job opportunities, which helped keep them off the streets and stray away from violence. As stated in the book The Lebanese in Ibadan, Nigeria, it was estimated that by 2012, over 53,000 Nigerians were working in Lebanese-owned industries in Ibadan, and this is apart from the many other business ventures and supermarkets in the city. For instance, a company called Zartech Foods that was launched back in 1994 had employed 180 local staff. Fast forward to 2006, this number had grown to more than 3,000 Nigerian employees. This number has exceeded in the past years and this is besides the other thousands of workers that are employed in other companies under Zartech’s group (Olaniyi, R., & Ajayi, O. 2014).

Dominant Lebanese roles in Economic Growth As the Lebanese dominated several countries’ economic sectors, they helped increase West Africa’s GDP and more specifically helped facilitate the reduction of imported products into the countries they resided in. The Lebanese expatriate businessmen had the innate gift and talent to quickly grasp future opportunities that lay ahead of the business sector. They launched medium and large-scale industrial production to provide consumers with several in demand products and sell them at affordable and relatively cheap prices. The most significant sector the Lebanese contributed and invested in is the food and beverage industry. This provided the region with a high economic value and contributed towards ensuring food safety.

For instance, when the Nigerian government in 2002 banned the importation of some food products, the Lebanese were able to manufacture and provide them locally. This later unlocked new trade opportunities between neighboring countries which greatly diversified the overall region’s economy as well. Establishing Schools, Hotels, and Hospitals Apart from being the most successful of expatriate entrepreneurs in West Africa, the Lebanese significantly impact the social and economic status of the region as well. Their versatility has led to them establishing educational institutions for the Lebanese, local, and other expatriate communities. The schools have grown from employing a few local teachers to now becoming some of the top educational institutions in the region with over 30 teachers, if not more. The Lebanese diaspora were known to be very strategic, adapting well to changing conditions, and filling the needs of their surroundings. If they saw a need that had to be fulfilled in a neighborhood or surrounding area, then they would quickly act to build and provide it. And so, they went on to build hotels and hospitals which not only boosted the sectors but aided their origin countries financially as well. What makes Lebanese stronger than other expatriates is their vast network, where they can always rely on their community for any knowledge and information regarding the present and future ventures whenever they need it.

The West African Lebanese are highly successful educated entrepreneurs who are superb in thinking, planning, and investing for the future ahead instead of relying on the present. They can foresee what is to come and through their fast decision capabilities, they’re able to drive benefits to the society they are a part of and elevate them economically. They’ve truly become an asset to the West African region.

 

 

Links: Olaniyi, R., & Ajayi, O. (2014). THE LEBANESE IN IBADAN, NIGERIA, 1986-2012. Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria,23, 131-149. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24768945 http://www.ibadaninternationalschool.com/index.php/homepage/history https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lebanese-west-africas-leading-merchant-community-victoria-crandall/ https://mylebanonmyhome.com/are-we-the-worlds-most-successful-diaspora-maybe/

  • send_iconSEND TO A FRIEND
  • plus_iconADD TO FAVORITES
  • mailing_iconJOIN OUR MAILING LIST
    • Refresh code
right_transparentbg