Tag Archives: Libya business

Where is the Central Bank of Libya?

Central_Bank_of_Libya, photo 2010 from wikipedia

Libyans have become accustomed to chaos in a country flooded with weaponry where militias and tribes call the shots, two years after NATO bombing helped rebels topple Muammar Gaddafi.But the daylight robbery of $55 million from a Central Bank van suggested that Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s cabinet is losing the struggle to provide security and build state institutions.Ten gunmen intercepted the van when it left the airport in Sirte, a former Gaddafi stronghold, snatching the cash flown in from Tripoli for the local central bank branch…

Sirte, a central coastal town near Gaddafi’s birthplace, has escaped the violence rife in cities such as Benghazi in the east, where assassinations and bombings are part of daily life. But the city showcases the lawlessness engulfing postwar Libya after four decades of Gaddafi’s quirky one-man rule.The fledgling army has largely moved out of Sirte, unable to rein in armed bands or the Islamist militants of Ansar al-Sharia which runs training camps nearby, residents say.

Unable to impose security here and in other cities, the government has co-opted former anti-Gaddafi rebels, putting them on the state payroll to guard public buildings or man checkpoints, nominally as part of state security forces.In fact these gunmen report to their own commanders who have their own agendas. Some are close to Islamists like those who briefly grabbed Zeidan from his Tripoli hotel room this month in protest at a U.S. raid to seize an al Qaeda suspect.Other militias pursue tribal interests or smuggle weapons, drugs and anything else that makes money…

[I]nsecurity in the streets is exacerbated by infighting between supporters of Zeidan, a liberal, and his Islamist opponents in the General National Congress, or parliament. “The government is very weak compared with other political forces, criminals and terrorists,” said Libyan political analyst Rami Mussa.

Exploiting the power vacuum, protesters have shut down oil terminals and oilfields around the country. Oil output, the main source for the budget, is down to a fraction of the 1.6 million barrels a day Libya pumped before the uprising against Gaddafi…In the east, disfavored in Gaddafi’s time, tribes and other armed groups demand autonomy and oil wealth. Regional councils have sprung up which want to sell crude bypassing Tripoli.

Excerpt, Central Bank falls victim to Libya’s rampant crime, anarchy, Reuters, Oct. 29, 2013

Libya is a Virgin and Divided Territory Loved by Business

misrata

Libya remains tempting. The oil-rich country is virgin territory. Recent rises in state salaries have made Libyans, already well-off for this part of the world, keen to spend. So is the government, since the country’s infrastructure is so poor. Before the war it signed deals to build roads, railways, houses, hospitals and schools. Now that international sanctions have been lifted, investment should be pouring in.

One problem is insecurity. Benghazi, the country’s second-biggest city, is still a no-go area for Americans, Britons and the French. But rampant militias are not the main deterrent, says Kevin Virgil of Pathfinder Capital: his London-based investment firm also works in Iraq, which is getting much investment despite being at least as dangerous.

Misrata’s militias provide better security than those in bomb-prone Benghazi. The port and free zone have broad autonomy from the central authorities in Tripoli, so decisions are taken more quickly.

Excerpts, Business in Libya: A post-Qaddafi pause, Economist, Oct. 5, 2013, at 69/Business in Misrata The can-do city, Economist, Oct. 5, 2013, at 69