- Art Gallery -




Libya (Africa)

Introduction ::Libya


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 is a combination of socialism and Islam derived in part from tribal practices and is supposed to be implemented by the Libyan people themselves in a unique form of "direct democracy." QADHAFI has always seen himself as a revolutionary and visionary leader. He 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 has made significant strides in normalizing relations with Western nations since then. He has received various Western European leaders as well as many working-level and commercial delegations, and made his first trip to Western Europe in 15 years when he traveled to Brussels in April 2004. The US rescinded Libya's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism in June 2006. In January 2008, Libya assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2008-09 term. 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.

Geography ::Libya


Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and

Geographic coordinates:
25 00 N, 17 00 E

Map references:



total: 1,759,540 sq km country comparison to the world: 17 land: 1,759,540 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than Alaska

Land boundaries:

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


1,770 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

note: Gulf of Sidra closing line - 32 degrees, 30 minutes north

exclusive fishing zone: 62 nm


Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior


mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Sabkhat Ghuzayyil -47 m

highest point: Bikku Bitti 2,267 m

Natural resources:

petroleum, natural gas, gypsum

Land use:

arable land: 1.03%

permanent crops: 0.19%

other: 98.78% (2005)

Irrigated land:

4,700 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

0.6 cu km (1997)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 4.27 cu km/yr (14%/3%/83%)

per capita: 730 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

hot, dry, dust-laden ghibli is a southern wind lasting one to four days in spring and fall; dust storms, sandstorms

Environment - current issues:

desertification; limited natural fresh water resources; the Great Manmade River Project, the largest water development scheme in the world, is being built to bring water from large aquifers under the Sahara to coastal cities

Environment - international agreements:

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

Geography - note:

more than 90% of the country is desert or semidesert

People ::Libya


6,461,454 country comparison to the world: 101 note: includes 166,510 non-nationals (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 33% (male 1,065,606/female 1,020,102)

15-64 years: 62.6% (male 2,036,780/female 1,923,566)

65 years and over: 4.4% (male 136,224/female 142,079) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 24.2 years

male: 24.3 years

female: 24.2 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.117% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 45

Birth rate:

24.58 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 66

Death rate:

3.4 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 216

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population country comparison to the world: 93


urban population: 78% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 2.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

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 (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 20.87 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 99 male: 22.87 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 18.78 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 77.47 years country comparison to the world: 57 male: 75.18 years

female: 79.88 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

3.01 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 67

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.3% (2001 est.) country comparison to the world: 91

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

10,000 (2001 est.) country comparison to the world: 101

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


noun: Libyan(s)

adjective: Libyan

Ethnic groups:

Berber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians,
Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians)


Sunni Muslim 97%, other 3%


Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 82.6%

male: 92.4%

female: 72% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 17 years

male: 16 years

female: 17 years (2003)

Education expenditures:

2.7% of GDP (1999) country comparison to the world: 159

Government ::Libya

Country name:

conventional long form: Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

conventional short form: Libya

local long form: Al Jamahiriyah al Arabiyah al Libiyah ash Shabiyah al Ishtirakiyah al Uthma

local short form: none

Government type:

Jamahiriya (a state of the masses) in theory, governed by the populace through local councils; in practice, an authoritarian state


name: Tripoli (Tarabulus)

geographic coordinates: 32 53 N, 13 10 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

22 states (shabiyat, singular - shabiyat); Al Butnan, Al Jabal al
Akhdar, Al Jabal Al Gharbi, Al Jafarah, Al Jafrah, Al Kafrah, Al
Maraj, Al Marqab, Al Murzuq, Al Wahat, An Nuqat al Khams, Az
Zawiyah, Banghazi, Darnah, Ghat, Misratah, Nalut, Sibha, Surt,
Tarabulus, Wadi al Hayat, Wadi ash Shati


24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship)

National holiday:

Revolution Day, 1 September (1969)


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

Legal system:

based on Italian and French civil law systems and Islamic law; separate religious courts; no constitutional provision for judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal and technically compulsory

Executive branch:

former chief of state: Revolutionary Leader Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI (since 1 September 1969); note - holds no official title, but is de facto chief of state

head of government: Secretary of the General People's Committee (Prime Minister) al-Baghdadi Ali al-MAHMUDI (since 5 March 2006)

former cabinet: General People's Committee established by the General People's Congress (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: national elections are indirect through a hierarchy of people's committees; head of government elected by the General People's Congress; election last held in March 2010 (next elections expected in early 2011)

election results: NA

Legislative branch:

unicameral General People's Congress (760 seats; members elected indirectly through a hierarchy of people's committees)

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders:


Political pressure groups and leaders:

other: anti-QADHAFI Libyan exile movement; Islamic elements

International organization participation:

WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:

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

Diplomatic representation from the US:

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

Flag description:

plain green; green is the traditional color of Islam (the state religion)

National anthem:

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

Economy ::Libya

Economy - overview:

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.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$89.03 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 74 $86.19 billion (2009 est.)

$86.77 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$77.91 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3.3% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 110 -0.7% (2009 est.)

2.7% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$13,800 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 83 $13,600 (2009 est.)

$14,000 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 2.6%

industry: 63.8%

services: 33.6% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

1.729 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 125

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 17%

industry: 23%

services: 59% (2004 est.)

Unemployment rate:

30% (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 180

Population below poverty line:

note: About one-third of Libyans live at or below the national poverty line

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Investment (gross fixed):

13.2% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 141

Public debt:

3.3% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 131 3.9% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 92 2.4% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

4% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 87 5% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

8.41% (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 137 6% (31 December 2007)

Stock of narrow money:

$29.85 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 56 $29.82 billion (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$35.98 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 70 $36.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$55.03 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 61 $41.13 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:

wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle


petroleum, petrochemicals, aluminum, iron and steel, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement

Industrial production growth rate:

2.7% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 118

Electricity - production:

23.98 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 67

Electricity - consumption:

22.17 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 66

Electricity - exports:

104 million kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports:

77 million kWh (2007 est.)

Oil - production:

1.79 million bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 18

Oil - consumption:

280,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 44

Oil - exports:

1.542 million bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 15

Oil - imports:

575 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 194

Oil - proved reserves:

47 billion bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 9

Natural gas - production:

15.9 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 33

Natural gas - consumption:

5.5 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 57

Natural gas - exports:

10.4 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 20

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 162

Natural gas - proved reserves:

1.539 trillion cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 23

Current account balance:

$15.53 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 20 $10.06 billion (2009 est.)


$44.89 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 58 $37.16 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities:

crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, chemicals

Exports - partners:

Italy 37.65%, Germany 10.11%, France 8.44%, Spain 7.94%, Switzerland 5.93%, US 5.27% (2009)


$24.47 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 64 $22.01 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery, semi-finished goods, food, transport equipment, consumer products

Imports - partners:

Italy 18.9%, China 10.54%, Turkey 9.92%, Germany 9.78%, France 5.63%, Tunisia 5.25%, South Korea 4.02% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$107.3 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 13 $104.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$6.378 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 98 $5.891 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$18.64 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 70 $15.56 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$15.32 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 49 $13.92 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange rates:

Libyan dinars (LYD) per US dollar - 1.2648 (2010), 1.2535 (2009), 1.2112 (2008), 1.2604 (2007), 1.3108 (2006)

Communications ::Libya

Telephones - main lines in use:

1.101 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 74

Telephones - mobile cellular:

5.004 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 95

Telephone system:

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)

Broadcast media:

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)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

12,432 (2010) country comparison to the world: 120

Internet users:

353,900 (2009) country comparison to the world: 124

Transportation ::Libya


137 (2010) country comparison to the world: 42

Airports - with paved runways:

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)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

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)


2 (2010)


condensate 776 km; gas 2,860 km; oil 6,987 km (2009)


total: 100,024 km country comparison to the world: 43 paved: 57,214 km

unpaved: 42,810 km (2003)

Merchant marine:

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)

Ports and terminals:

Marsa al Burayqah, Ra's Lanuf, Tripoli

Military ::Libya

Military branches:

Armed Peoples on Duty (APOD, Army), Libyan Arab Navy, Libyan Arab
Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Jamahiriya al-Arabia al-Libyya,
LAAF), Libyan Coast Guard (2008)

Military service age and obligation:

17 years of age (2004)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 1,746,512

females age 16-49: 1,683,390 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 1,490,011

females age 16-49: 1,436,613 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 59,842

female: 57,357 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

3.9% of GDP (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 25

Transnational Issues ::Libya

Disputes - international:

Libya has claimed more than 32,000 sq km in southeastern Algeria and about 25,000 sq km in the Tommo region of Niger in a currently dormant dispute; various Chadian rebels from the Aozou region reside in southern Libya

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 8,000 (Palestinian Territories) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:

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

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Libya is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to address trafficking in persons in 2007 when compared to 2006, particularly in the area of investigating and prosecuting trafficking offenses; Libya did not publicly release any data on investigations or punishment of any trafficking offenses (2008)


Hellenica World