BEIRUT: A new government website aimed at giving over a million Lebanese living outside the country access to information about travel, study and investment in Lebanon was unveiled Friday, but large sections remained empty following the official launch.
The General Directorate of Emigrants announced the launch of gdoe.activeweb.info, a new Web portal in French, English and Arabic developed in cooperation with the International Center for Migration Police and Development.
The portal features categories such as tourism, investment, education, emigrant institutions abroad, administrative procedures including visas, expatriate voting and directories of Lebanese foreign missions overseas, and foreign missions and development agencies in Lebanon.
However, many of the pages appeared under construction or rerouted back to the homepage. In some cases, such as the directorate of foreign embassies in Lebanon, content appeared to have been uploaded to the English side of the site but not the Arabic.
Haitham Joumaa, head of the directorate, told journalists and dignitaries at Friday’s news conference that the site was a “reality” and a “beginning” to be “developed much further in the future,” promising a comprehensive portal for Lebanese abroad looking to connect with their homeland.
“This is a new page in every sense of the word,” Joumaa joked, speaking to the assembled press and dignitaries.
According to the directorate, between 1 and 1.3 million Lebanese are scattered throughout the world, mainly in the Arab Gulf, North America, Europe and Africa. Lebanon is one of the largest receivers of remittances from abroad, reaching 24.4 percent of GDP in 2009.
Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour was also present to offer support for the project, describing Lebanese diaspora as an “asset” and a “source of pride.”
“We look to you to defend Lebanon’s national causes and contribute to its construction, because you are citizens of a homeland whose wealth lies in its people, which is inexhaustible,” he added.