Economic and Political Overview

flag Libya Libya: Economic and Political Overview

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response

 

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Libya's economy is almost entirely dependent on oil and gas exports. In 2022, the country continued to make significant progress towards institutional, political, economic, financial, and military reunification, which resulted in a strong rebound of oil and energy production, as well as an overall growth of the private sector. However, GDP registered an estimated negative growth of 18.5%. Nevertheless, the country's economy is expected to register positive growth in the coming years, with rates of 17.9% in 2023 and 8% in 2024.

Libyan oil and gas production accounts for nearly 60% of aggregate economic output and more than 90% of fiscal and export revenues. In 2022, oil activity in the country increased, and the government hopes to return to 2010 levels, when production reached its peak at 1.6 million bpd, within the next two or three years. With that, the country's oil-dependent economy is expected to grow. In 2022, the country's inflation rate increased to 5.5%, but it is expected to decrease to a more moderate rate in 2023, at around 4%, and 2024, when it is expected to reach 3%. Although Libya continued implementing economic policy responses to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country still faced a civil war and a divided government.

Continued inflation and low oil production exacerbated poverty in a country already ravaged by civil war and repeated terrorist attacks. The Tripoli government has implemented an active policy of job creation, especially in the public sector, but, according to Ministry of Labor, unemployment rate reaches 20%, and about half of all young people and a quarter of women remain without employment.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 37.8040.1943.9546.3547.77
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -9.612.57.56.94.2
GDP per Capita (USD) 5,5775,8726,3576,6396,774
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 0.00.00.00.00.0
Inflation Rate (%) n/a3.42.92.92.9
Current Account (billions USD) 12.428.5411.6312.4810.87
Current Account (in % of GDP) 32.921.326.526.922.8

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Libya's 6.5 million population includes a work force of 2.5 million. Agriculture's share in Libya's economy is negligible, accounting for 4.1% of GDP and employing 16.4% of the workforce (World Bank). Main products include wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans, and cattle. Arid climate conditions and the poor quality of the soil severely limit agricultural production.

Industry is the backbone of the Libyan economy because of the strong petrochemical industry. It accounts for 48.3% of GDP, employing 24.4% of the active population (World Bank). Production includes petroleum, petrochemicals, aluminium, iron, steel, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, and cement. Although the Libyan petrochemical industry, especially the country's petroleum exports, were negatively impacted by the pandemic and the drop of oil prices, the sector showed signs of recovery in 2022.

Services account for 55.8% of GDP and its share in total employment stands at 59.2% (World Bank). Although this is the second largest sector in Libya, significant industries, such as tourism and retail, are significantly underdeveloped. Financial services and transportation, however, account for a significant part of the service sector. Even though the impacts of the pandemic were felt through the service sector, it wasn't as significantly hit as industry.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 16.3 19.3 64.4
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.6 80.3 25.5
Value Added (Annual % Change) 10.0 -9.9 15.0

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

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Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Lybian Dinar (LYD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 0.040.040.040.040.04

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

Find out all the exchange rates daily on our service Currency Converter.

 

Business environment ranking

Definition:

The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

Score:
3.44/10
World Rank:
81/82

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2020-2024

 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Foreign Trade in Figures

Trade has been an important element of the Libyan economy since early 2000s, peaking at 139% of GDP in 2014, before the country mired into another civil war. Nevertheless, its share recovered slightly in the last few years and, according to the latest available data, it reached 114.1% in 2020 (World Bank). Main exports included crude oil, refined petroleum products and natural gas (94% of total exports, UNCTAD), as well as gold, iron, and copper. Significant items of import include refined petroleum, automobiles, transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, rolled tobacco, and medicaments.

Libya is an active member of the AMU (Arab Maghreb Union), and the country's main suppliers are China (16.2%), Turkey (13.7%), Italy (9.1%), the United Arab Emirates (8.9%), and Egypt (5.48%). As for Libya's top export partners, they include Italy (18.1%), China (16%), Germany (15%), Spain (14.6%), and the United Arab Emirates (5.7%).

Libya's economic growth was suspended in 2011 due to the eruption of the civil war. The conflict halted commercial activities, especially exports of oil. In addition, economic and trade sanctions imposed by Western countries before the fall of Colonel Gaddafi significantly hampered trade. According to the last available data from WTO, Libya's imports of good and services decreased by 27.8% in 2020, while exports recorded a decrease of 62.6%, mainly due to the negative impacts of the pandemic. In 2021, imports of goods stood at USD 18.9 billion and imports reached USD 28.9 billion, bringing the trade balance to a deficit of USD 10 billion.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 13,78622,69412,91217,43229,634
Exports of Goods (million USD) 29,83029,0589,31233,41737,686
Imports of Services (million USD) 5,0637,6425,18600
Exports of Services (million USD) 13426822600
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 23.81.42.9n/an/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 22.0-13.0-52.6n/an/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 24.235.4n/an/an/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 39.642.8n/an/an/a
Trade Balance (million USD) 16,04411,332164n/an/a
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 11,1153,958-4,797n/an/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 63.878.2n/an/an/a

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data

 
 
 
 
 

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Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Ministry of Finance (in Arabic)
Ministry of Economy (in Arabic)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Arabic)
Statistical Office
Bureau of Statistics and Census Libya (in Arabic)
Central Bank
Central Bank of Libya
Stock Exchange
Libyan Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Libya search engines
Economic Portals
General portal

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
Chairman of the Presidential Council: Mohamed al-Menfi (since 15 March 2021)
Prime Minister: Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh (since 15 March 2021)
Next Election Dates
The country's legislative elections were scheduled to be held on 21 December 2021. However, on that day, the head of High National Election Commission (HNEC) ordered the dissolution of the electoral committees nationwide, which led to the indefinite postponement of the elections.
Parliamentary elections were scheduled to be held in 2022, however, on 23 January 2022, Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh called for a constitution to be established before holding the delayed presidential and parliamentary elections. Since then, the voting has not taken place and both elections have also been postponed indefinitely.
Main Political Parties
Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) was formed as an interim institution in the aftermath of the civil war. GNA has faced competition from Tobruk-based Libyan National Army (LNA), despite having been recognised by the UN as the legitimate ruling body. In March 2021, the House of Representatives, previously loyal to the LNA, approved the formation of a Government of National Unity, which has the task of unifying two rival forces.

The largest political forces in the country include:
- National Forces Alliance (NFA): liberal, moderate coalition comprising of at least 58 parties, holds almost half of parliamentary seats
- Justice and Construction Party (JCP): right-wing, abstains from government, large Muslim Brotherhood faction, Islamist, can no longer operate openly
- National Front Party: centre-left, liberal, progressive
- Union for Homeland: centre, localist, populist
- National Centrist Party: centre, nationalist, Islamic democracy, Islamic liberalism
- Homeland Party: conservative, Islamic democracy
Type of State
Republic (in transition).
Executive Power
Previously, the Libyan regime and, in particular, its political and economic system, was based on the Green Book, founding work of Colonel Gaddafi, who saw in this book a third universal theory of synthesis between liberalism and Marxism.

Since the civil war and the political change that followed, the UN recognised the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) as the legitimate governing authority for Libya until an interim government is in place. The TNC was followed by the Government of National Accord (GNA), which has faced competition from Tobruk-based Libyan National Army (LNA), despite having been recognised by the UN as the legitimate ruling body. In March 2021, the House of Representatives, previously loyal to the LNA, approved the formation of a Government of National Unity, which has the task of unifying two rival forces.

Legislative Power
Previously, the legislature was unicameral in Libya. The parliament consisted of the General People's Congress (GPC). Its members were elected representatives (called secretaries) of around 600 local bodies called ‘basic popular congresses', and served a term of four years.

The High Council of State acts as an advisory body aiming to reunite the Tripoli-based government with Tobruk-based House of Representatives. The Council is able to advise both the interim Government of National Accord (GNA) and the House of Representatives (HoR), and its 145 members were appointed by remaining members of its predecessor, the Libyan General National Congress.

 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
165/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Not Free
Political Freedom:
7/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the government of Libya, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.

 

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Latest Update: December 2023