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Libya is a county situated in the Maghreb Region of North Africa, bordered by Egypt to the east, Sudan to the south east, Chad and Niger to the south, Algeria and Tunisia to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the North.

According to the CIA Factbook, Libya covers a total area of 1,759,540 square kilometres, ranking it the 4th largest country in Africa and the 17th largest country in the world. Estimates in 2011 put the population at 6,597,960 with 97% Berber and Arab and the remainder a blend of Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians and Pakistanis. Due to its large land mass, density is low at 3.6/km2. The official language of Libya is Arabic, although Berber is also spoken.

Libya gained independence from the United Kingdom & France in 1951 and since a military coup in 1969 has been led by Colonel Muammer al-Gaddafi. Since February 2011, the country has been in the midst of a civil war, with two entities claiming to be official government of Libya; the Gaddafi led Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya based in the country’s capital of Tripoli, and the Transitional National Council led by Mustafa Abdul Jalil in Benghazi.

In terms of administrative divisions Libya maintains 22 sha`biyat or municipalities.

Libya participates in a number of international organisations including The United Nations, WHO and IMF.
The currency of Libya is the Libyan Dinar (LYD)


The CIA Factbook in 2010 estimated Libya’s GDP $74.23 billion, with a GDP (PPP) of $90.57 billion and a per capita income of US$14,000. National GDP is composed of 63.8% industry sector, 33.6% services and 2.6% agriculture.

Libya’s economy is driven by the country’s oil and gas industry that since it’s discovery in 1959 has transformed the country into one of Africa’s richest nations. Laden with natural resources, the country has (according to the U.S Energy Information Administration) crude oil reserves of about 46.4 billion barrels which is around 3.4% of world reserves. Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) single handedly generates around 90% of the country’s income by exporting an estimated 1.542 million bbl/day to countries such as Italy, France and China (Source: CIA Fact Book).

Since the lifting of economic sanctions in 2004, Libya has undergone a series of reforms to diversitfy its economy, enjoyed further private sector participation and increased foreign investment. The current conflict is expected to cause the economy to shrink as oil production and industry slows, although the African Economic Outlook report released in June 2011 suggests that “oil endowment and international attention to the country are likely to secure a relatively fast recovery once the conflict is over”.

Other than petroleum and petrochemicals, major industries include aluminium, iron and steel, food processing, textiles, handicrafts and cement. Libya’s lack of arable land limits it’s agricultural potential, but where possible, wheat, barley, olives, dates, fruits, vegetables and cattle is produced.

In 2010 Libya’s exports was estimated by the CIA to be worth $44.89 billion, the majority of which are derived from oil. It’s most important trading partners are Italy 37.65%, Gemany 10.11%, France 8.44%, Spain 7.94%, Switzerland 5.93% and U.S 5.27%.

Libya also imports $24.647 billion of products per year, with products ranging from food and semi finished goods to transport equipment and machinery. Main suppliers are Italy, China, Turkey and Germany.


Libya has established a fairly strong infrastructure over the past few decades, investing in a number of development projects to modernise existing communication, energy and transport networks.

Libya’s major towns and cities are primarily connected by an extensive network of roads and highways.
There is currently no railway system in the country so most people travel by automobile, utilising roadways that (according to the CIA Fact Book) extend for 100,024 km, over half of which are paved. In terms of public transport, a fleet of buses operated by Fast Transport Company and the United Africa Company run along routes throughout the main cities and surrounding areas.

The country operates over one hundred airports, 59 of which have paved runways. The largest and busiest is Tripoli International Airport which is located in Ben Ghashir, 34 kilometres south of the city centre. The airport moved over 3 million passengers in 2008 and has undergone a recent expansion to raise total capacity to 20 million.

The country’s principal commercial seaports are Az Zawiyah, Marsa al Burayqah, Ra’s Lanuf and Tripoli. The Port of Tripoli is the largest and one of the oldest in the Mediterranean. Operated by the Socialist Ports Company, the port serves bulk, cargo and passengers, visited by around 600 vessels per year.


The CIA Factbook in 2009 estimated Libya’s labour force at 1.729 million. 59% of the labour force is employed in the service sector, followed by 23% in industrial sector, primarily in manufacturing, and the remainder by the agricultural sector. The labour force is predominantly (97%) made up of Arab and Berber people, with only a small proportion of Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians and Tunisians. Arabic is the most widely spoken language.

According to the CIA Fact book, literacy in the country in 2003 stood at 82.6%. Males tended to have a higher proportion of literacy than females standing at around 92.4%, although the gap has been closing over the past two decades and overall literacy levels are higher than those found in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia. The government spends an estimated 7.1% (2007) of it’s GDP on education, offering free and compulsory schooling for all children aged 6 to 15 years old, Higher education is governed by the General people’s Committee for Education & Scientific Research and comprises of vocational schools, technical colleges and universities. In 2008/09 there were an estimated 340,000 students enrolled in universities throughout the country, the majority in public institutions.

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Personal income tax in Libya is levied on a progressive scale. The annual rates applied are 5% on the first LYD 12,000 and 10% on all income that exceeds that amount. Professional income is taxed at rates between 15%-30%, whilst overseas income is taxed at 20%.

Resident companies are taxed on their worldwide income; meanwhile branches of foreign companies are taxed only on their Libya source income. Corporate taxation is levied at a flat rate of 20%. Capital gains are also treated as income at taxed at the same rate.

The employer and employee must pay into the social security contribution fund. The employer is expected to pay 11.25% of gross wages and salaries, while the employee contributes 3.75%.

Libyan labour stipulates working hours, regulations and training guidelines. A minimum wage of LYD 250 per month is also enforced.

Libya does not operate a Value Added Tax or sales tax on goods.
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