LIBYA: Diversifying success

Ford, Neil
May 2003
Middle East;May2003, Issue 334, p50
The article focuses on the economic conditions in Libya as of May 2003. Libya's economy is in the middle of a process of transition, renewed interest in the country's plentiful gas reserves is reducing dependence on crude oil exports, while the government's improved relations with the West is being accompanied y increased investment by foreign oil companies. Despite the progress that has been made, there is no doubt that the fortunes of the Libyan economy are in large part dictated by the oil price. Although Libya was the second country in the world to begin exporting liquefied natural gas, gas sector development was neglected in favor of oil investment for many years. The gas will be exported to Italian power company Edison Gas, Energia Gas of Italy and also Gaz de France via a 600km pipeline, named Green Stream, to Sicily and then on to mainland Italy. Libya does not publish accurate unemployment figures, but it is clear that even a moderate retreat of the state should increase the number of people without jobs, although the government is banking on a growing private sector to absorb both these casualties of the liberalization process and the growing number of young people entering the labor market.


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