Libya

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 29, 2011
Flag of Libya
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Location of Libya
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OF LIBYA
 

Introduction

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The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911 and did not relinquish their hold until 1943 when defeated in World War II. Libya then passed to UN administration and achieved independence in 1951. Following a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI began to espouse his own political system, the Third Universal Theory. The system was a combination of socialism and Islam derived in part from tribal practices and was supposed to be implemented by the Libyan people themselves in a unique form of "direct democracy." QADHAFI used oil funds during the 1970s and 1980s to promote his ideology outside Libya, supporting subversives and terrorists abroad to hasten the end of Marxism and capitalism. In addition, beginning in 1973, he engaged in military operations in northern Chad's Aozou Strip - to gain access to minerals and to use as a base of influence in Chadian politics - but was forced to retreat in 1987. UN sanctions in 1992 isolated QADHAFI politically following the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. During the 1990s, QADHAFI began to rebuild his relationships with Europe. UN sanctions were suspended in April 1999 and finally lifted in September 2003 after Libya accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing. In December 2003, Libya announced that it had agreed to reveal and end its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and to renounce terrorism. QADHAFI subsequently made significant strides in normalizing relations with Western nations. The US rescinded Libya's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism in June 2006. In August 2008, the US and Libya signed a bilateral comprehensive claims settlement agreement to compensate claimants in both countries who allege injury or death at the hands of the other country, including the Lockerbie bombing, the LaBelle disco bombing, and the UTA 772 bombing. In October 2008, the US Government received $1.5 billion pursuant to the agreement to distribute to US national claimants, and as a result effectively normalized its bilateral relationship with Libya. The two countries then exchanged ambassadors for the first time since 1973 in January 2009. Libya in May 2010 was elected to its first three-year seat on the UN Human Rights Council, prompting protests from international non-governmental organizations and human rights campaigners. Unrest that began in several Near Eastern and North African countries in late December 2010 spread to several Libyan cities in early 2011. In March 2011, a Transitional National Council (TNC) was formed in Benghazi with the stated aim of overthrowing the QADHAFI regime and guiding the country to democracy. In response to QADHAFI's harsh military crackdown on protesters, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1973, which demanded an immediate ceasefire and authorized the international community to establish a no-fly zone over Libya. After several months of see-saw fighting, anti-Qadhafi forces in August 2011 captured the capital, Tripoli. In mid-September, the UN General Assembly voted to recognize the TNC as the legitimate interim governing body of Libya. The TNC on 23 October officially declared the country liberated following the defeat of the last remaining pro-QADHAFI stronghold and QADHAFI's death, and plans to begin a transition toward elections, the formation of a constitution, and a new government.
 
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Geography

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Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Tunisia
 
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25 00 N, 17 00 E
 
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total: 1,759,540 sq km
country comparison to the world: 17
land: 1,759,540 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
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slightly larger than Alaska
 
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total: 4,348 km
border countries: Algeria 982 km, Chad 1,055 km, Egypt 1,115 km, Niger 354 km, Sudan 383 km, Tunisia 459 km
 
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1,770 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
note: Gulf of Sidra closing line - 32 degrees, 30 minutes north
exclusive fishing zone: 62 nm
 
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Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior
 
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mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions
 
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lowest point: Sabkhat Ghuzayyil -47 m
highest point: Bikku Bitti 2,267 m
 
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petroleum, natural gas, gypsum
 
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arable land: 1.03%
permanent crops: 0.19%
other: 98.78% (2005)
 
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4,700 sq km (2008)
 
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0.6 cu km (1997)
 
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total: 4.27 cu km/yr (14%/3%/83%)
per capita: 730 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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hot, dry, dust-laden ghibli is a southern wind lasting one to four days in spring and fall; dust storms, sandstorms
 
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desertification; limited natural freshwater resources; the Great Manmade River Project, the largest water development scheme in the world, brings water from large aquifers under the Sahara to coastal cities
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
 
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more than 90% of the country is desert or semidesert
 
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People and Society

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noun: Libyan(s)
adjective: Libyan
 
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Berber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians)
 
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Arabic (official), Italian, English
note: all are widely understood in the major cities
 
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Sunni Muslim (official) 97%, other 3%
 
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6,597,960 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
note: includes 166,510 non-nationals
 
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0-14 years: 32.8% (male 1,104,590/female 1,057,359)
15-64 years: 62.7% (male 2,124,053/female 2,011,226)
65 years and over: 4.6% (male 146,956/female 153,776) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 24.5 years
male: 24.5 years
female: 24.4 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.064% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
 
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24.04 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
 
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3.4 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 213
 
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
 
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urban population: 78% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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TRIPOLI (capital) 1.095 million (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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64 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 88
 
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total: 20.09 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 98
male: 22.06 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 77.65 years
country comparison to the world: 59
male: 75.34 years
female: 80.08 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.96 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
 
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6.6% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 89
 
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1.9 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 70
 
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3.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 56
 
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improved:
urban: 54% of population
rural: 55% of population
total: 54% of population
unimproved:
urban: 46% of population
rural: 45% of population
total: 46% of population (2000)
 
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improved:
urban: 97% of population
rural: 96% of population
total: 97% of population
unimproved:
urban: 3% of population
rural: 4% of population
total: 3% of population (2008)
 
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0.3% (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
 
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10,000 (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
 
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NA
 
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5.6% (2007)
country comparison to the world: 80
 
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NA
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.6%
male: 92.4%
female: 72% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 17 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2003)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Libya
local long form: none
local short form: Libiya
 
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Jamahiriya (a state of the masses) in theory, governed by the populace through local councils; in practice, an authoritarian state
 
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name: Tripoli (Tarabulus)
geographic coordinates: 32 53 N, 13 10 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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22 districts (shabiyat, singular - shabiyat); Al Butnan, Al Jabal al Akhdar, Al Jabal al Gharbi, Al Jafarah, Al Jufrah, Al Kufrah, Al Marj, Al Marqab, Al Wahat, An Nuqat al Khams, Az Zawiyah, Banghazi, Darnah, Ghat, Misratah, Murzuq, Nalut, Sabha, Surt, Tarabulus, Wadi al Hayat, Wadi ash Shati
 
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24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship)
 
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Revolution Day, 1 September (1969)
 
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none; note - following the September 1969 military overthrow of the Libyan government, the Revolutionary Command Council replaced the existing constitution with the Constitutional Proclamation in December 1969; in March 1977, Libya adopted the Declaration of the Establishment of the People's Authority
 
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mixed system of civil and Islamic law
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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18 years of age; universal and technically compulsory
 
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note: the United States on 17 July 2011 recognized the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) as the legitimate governing authority for Libya until an interim government is in place; the TNC on 8 August 2011 dimissed the members of its Executive Committee, which serves as its executive branch, and only reappointed its chairman; however, the previous members of the Executive Committee continue to be responsible for their assigned portfolios in an acting capacity
chief of state: Transitional National Council Chairman Mustafa Abd al-JALIL (since March 2011)
head of government: Transitional National Council Executive Committee Chairman Abd al-Rahim al-KEEB (since 23 October 2011)
cabinet: a new cabinet was formed by the Transitional National Council Chairman in November 2011
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: TNC Chairman al-JALIL in August 2011 announced presidential elections to be held in April1 2012
election results: NA
 
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the United States on 17 July 2011 recognized the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) as the legitimate governing authority for Libya; announcement of a new interim government expected in November 2011
elections: TNC Chairman al-JALIL in August 2011 announced legislative elections to be held in April 2012
election results: NA
 
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Supreme Court
 
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none
 
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other: anti-QADHAFI Libyan exile movement; Islamic elements
 
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ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, CAEU, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Ali Suleiman AUJALI
chancery: 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 705, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 944-9601
FAX: [1] (202) 944-9060
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Gene A. CRETZ
embassy: off Jaraba Street, behind the Libyan-Swiss clinic, Ben Ashour
mailing address: US Embassy, 8850 Tripoli Place, Washington, DC 20521-8850
telephone: [218] 91-220-3239
 
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three horizontal bands of red (top), black (double width), and green with a white crescent and star centered on the black stripe; the National Transitional Council reintroduced this flag design of the former Kingdom of Libya (1951-1969) on 27 February 2011; it replaced the former all-green banner promulgated by the QADHAFI regime in 1977; the colors represent the three major regions of the country: red stands for Fezzan , black symbolizes Cyrenaica, and green denotes Tripolitania; the crescent and star represent Islam, the main religion of the country
 
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star and crescent; hawk
 
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name: "Allahu Akbar" (God Is Greatest)
lyrics/music: Mahmoud el-SHERIF/Abdalla Shams el-DIN
note: adopted 1969; the anthem was originally a battle song for the Egyptian Army in the 1956 Suez War
 
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Economy

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The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contribute about 95% of export earnings, 25% of GDP, and 80% of government revenue. The weakness in world hydrocarbon prices in 2009 reduced Libyan government tax income and constrained economic growth. Substantial revenues from the energy sector coupled with a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, but little of this income flows down to the lower orders of society. Libyan officials in the past five years have made progress on economic reforms as part of a broader campaign to reintegrate the country into the international fold. This effort picked up steam after UN sanctions were lifted in September 2003 and as Libya announced in December 2003 that it would abandon programs to build weapons of mass destruction. The process of lifting US unilateral sanctions began in the spring of 2004; all sanctions were removed by June 2006, helping Libya attract greater foreign direct investment, especially in the energy sector. Libyan oil and gas licensing rounds continue to draw high international interest; the National Oil Corporation (NOC) set a goal of nearly doubling oil production to 3 million bbl/day by 2012. In November 2009, the NOC announced that that target may slip to as late as 2017. Libya faces a long road ahead in liberalizing the socialist-oriented economy, but initial steps - including applying for WTO membership, reducing some subsidies, and announcing plans for privatization - are laying the groundwork for a transition to a more market-based economy. The non-oil manufacturing and construction sectors, which account for more than 20% of GDP, have expanded from processing mostly agricultural products to include the production of petrochemicals, iron, steel, and aluminum. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit agricultural output, and Libya imports about 75% of its food. Libya's primary agricultural water source remains the Great Manmade River Project, but significant resources are being invested in desalinization research to meet growing water demands.
 
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$90.57 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
$86.95 billion (2009 est.)
$89.01 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$74.23 billion (2010 est.)
 
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4.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
-2.3% (2009 est.)
2.3% (2008 est.)
 
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$14,000 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
$13,700 (2009 est.)
$14,400 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 2.7%
industry: 66.7%
services: 30.5% (2010 est.)
 
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1.728 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
 
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agriculture: 17%
industry: 23%
services: 59% (2004 est.)
 
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30% (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
 
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NA
note: About one-third of Libyans live at or below the national poverty line
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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13.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
 
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revenues: $42.04 billion
expenditures: $38.75 billion (2010 est.)
 
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56.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
 
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4.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
 
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3.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
3.9% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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2.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
2.4% (2009 est.)
 
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9.52% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
3% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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6% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
6% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$31.95 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
$30.34 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$35.96 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
$36.82 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$45.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
$41.83 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle
 
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petroleum, petrochemicals, aluminum, iron and steel, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement
 
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2.7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
 
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26.95 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
 
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22.89 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
 
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117 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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48 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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1.789 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
 
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289,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
 
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1.385 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
 
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575 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
 
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46.42 billion bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
 
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15.9 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
 
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6.01 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
 
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9.89 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
 
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1.548 trillion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
 
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$16.16 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
$9.381 billion (2009 est.)
 
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$41.8 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
$37.06 billion (2009 est.)
 
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crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, chemicals
 
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Italy 31.6%, France 13%, China 9.2%, Spain 9.1%, Germany 8.4%, US 4.5% (2010)
 
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$24.73 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
$22 billion (2009 est.)
 
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machinery, semi-finished goods, food, transport equipment, consumer products
 
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Italy 16.3%, China 10.3%, Turkey 9.7%, France 6.8%, Germany 6.4%, South Korea 6.2%, Egypt 5.7%, Tunisia 4.8% (2010)
 
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$99.84 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
$98.92 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$6.396 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
$5.884 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$19.39 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
$15.56 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$15.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
$13.92 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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Libyan dinars (LYD) per US dollar -
1.2648 (2010)
1.2535 (2009)
1.2112 (2008)
1.2604 (2007)
1.3108 (2006)
 
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Communications

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1.228 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 70
 
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10.9 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 66
 
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general assessment: telecommunications system is state-owned and service is poor, but investment is being made to upgrade; state retains monopoly in fixed-line services; mobile-cellular telephone system became operational in 1996
domestic: multiple providers for a mobile telephone system that is growing rapidly; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is approaching 100 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 218; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat, NA Arabsat, and NA Intersputnik; submarine cable to France and Italy; microwave radio relay to Tunisia and Egypt; tropospheric scatter to Greece; participant in Medarabtel (2009)
 
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state controls broadcast media; state-owned terrestrial TV station and about a half-dozen state-owned satellite stations broadcast; some provinces operate local TV stations; a single, non-state-owned TV station launched in 2007; pan-Arab satellite TV stations are available; state-owned radio broadcasts on a number of frequencies, some of which carry regional programming; Voice of Africa, Libya's external radio service, can also be heard; a single, non-state-owned radio station broadcasting (2007)
 
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.ly
 
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12,432 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 120
 
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353,900 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 124
 
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Transportation

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137 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 41
 
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total: 59
over 3,047 m: 24
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 78
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 42
under 914 m: 17 (2010)
 
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2 (2010)
 
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condensate 776 km; gas 3,216 km; oil 6,960 km (2010)
 
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total: 100,024 km
country comparison to the world: 42
paved: 57,214 km
unpaved: 42,810 km (2003)
 
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total: 27
country comparison to the world: 89
by type: cargo 5, chemical tanker 4, liquefied gas 3, petroleum tanker 13, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 5 (Kuwait 1, Norway 1, Syria 2, UK 1)
registered in other countries: 5 (Hong Kong 1, Malta 4) (2010)
 
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Az Zawiyah, Marsa al Burayqah (Marsa el Brega), Ra's Lanuf, Tripoli
 
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Military

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males age 16-49: 1,775,078
females age 16-49: 1,714,194 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 1,511,144
females age 16-49: 1,458,934 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 59,547
female: 57,070 (2010 est.)
 
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3.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
 
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Transnational Issues

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dormant disputes include Libyan claims of about 32,000 sq km still reflected on its maps of southeastern Algeria and the FLN's assertions of a claim to Chirac Pastures in southeastern Morocco; various Chadian rebels from the Aozou region reside in southern Libya
 
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refugees (country of origin): 8,000 (Palestinian Territories) (2007)
 
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current situation: Libya is a transit and destination country for men and women from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation; Libya has experienced internal unrest, stranding many foreign workers in the country under harsh and unsafe conditions
tier rating: Tier 3 - the Libyan Government failed to demonstrate significant efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses or to protect trafficking victims; the government's policies and practices with respect to undocumented migrant workers resulted in Libyan authorities also punishing trafficking victims for unlawful acts that were committed as a result of their being trafficked; following the outbreak of civil unrest in February 2011, accurate information regarding the situation in Libya has become very limited (2011)
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