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flag Libya Libya: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline


Economic Indicators

The civil war has gravely affected the Libyan economy. In 2011, GDP contracted by over 60%, with losses estimated at over EUR 20 billion. The return to a stable government is allowing the restart of oil production and the reconstruction, and has driven a growth of 76.3% of the GDP in 2012, but 2013 failed to bring continuity and the growth has been negative (-5.1%). The situation remains tensed and political confusion is threatening the transition.

The big challenges remain the country's political unity and its economic diversification away from oil dependence, as well as the fight against corruption. The country's reconstruction, the modernization of its infrastructure - including transportation and telecommunications - and the development of public services will be the priorities of the Libyan government in 2014.

Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 34.7181.92e65.52e49.34e63.04
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -62.1104.5-13.6e-19.8e15.0
GDP per Capita (USD) 5,84013,581107,942e9,998
Inflation Rate (%)
Current Account (billions USD) 3.1723.84e8.90-13.38e-13.15
Current Account (in % of GDP) 9.129.1e13.6e-27.1e-20.9

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database ; CIA - The world factbook , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Libya's economy depends mainly on oil revenues, which comprise almost all exports and over half of GDP: the country is the fourth largest oil producer in Africa, holding more than 40% of African reserves and 3% of world reserves. Libya is the second largest exporter of black gold in Africa. Oil alone accounts for one quarter of the country's GDP.

The construction sector is booming (20% of GDP), both on individual level and regarding large-scale public infrastructure. Other industries of the country are food processing, textiles, handicrafts and cement.

The industry sector employs 30.6% of the active population and contributes 49.5% to the GDP.

Agriculture employs 14.8% of the active population and contributes 3.2% to the GDP. The country produces wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus fruits, vegetables, peanuts, soy and livestock. However, the arid climate conditions and the poor quality of the soil limit the production severely. The recent growth in population has caused a considerable rise in food consumption. Therefore, 75% of the food consumed in Libya has to be imported.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.9 78.2 19.9

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
Lybian Dinar (LYD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.


Learn more about Market Analyses about Libya on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

35.9 /100
World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


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.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


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Foreign Trade in Figures

Libya's development was stopped in 2011 due to the eruption of the civil war. The conflict halted exports, including exports of oil. In addition, economic and trade sanctions imposed by Western countries before the fall of Colonel Gaddafi have significantly hampered trade. The economic activity has gradually restarted but political confusion and renewed tensions on the ground cannot allow economic growth and the rise in foreign trade since 2013.

Libya is an active member of the AMU (Arab Maghreb Union) and it has also applied to become a member of the  WTO, evidence of its wish to become more open to the outside.

The Libyan export basket is not at all diversified, since 95% of its exports are connected to the oil industry. The three major export partners are Italy (23.5%), Germany (12.5%) and China (11.3%).

The three major import partners of Libya are China (13.7%), Turkey (12.3%) and Italy (8.7%). The mainly imported commodities are iron and steel, industrial machines, vehicles, cereals, as well as other food products.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 10,00017,6748,00022,00027,000
Exports of Goods (million USD) 37,16248,67318,00062,21644,000
Imports of Services (million USD) 4,3235,2513,555152-
Exports of Services (million USD) 38541040152-
Trade Balance (million USD) 15,05324,3767,86035,43611,968
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 10,37518,6593,51428,5923,677

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Italy 42.3%
France 15.5%
China 9.4%
Spain 9.2%
Greece 4.5%
See More Countries 19.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Turkey 10.6%
China 9.8%
Italy 9.4%
South Korea 9.2%
Germany 6.8%
See More Countries 54.2%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)

Main Services

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries & Government Organizations
Statistical Office
Lybiaonline: Statistics & Reports
Central Bank
Central Bank of Libya (in Arabic)
Stock Exchange
Libyan Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Libya search engines
Economic Portals
General portal

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Political Outline

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 recognized the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) as the legitimate governing authority for Libya until an interim government is in place. The TNC on 22 November 2011 established a new transitional government. Libyans are due to elect a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution. The transitional period is governed by the Constitutional Declaration issued on 3 August 2011.
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.

Since the fall of the regime of Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) that runs the country shall establish a new constitution.
Main Political Parties
Political parties were banned in Libya since 1971. However, the NTC pledged in favor of multiparty democracy. Among the country's main political parties are:
- The Democratic Party of Libya ;
- The National Gathering for Freedom, Justice and Development ;
- The Patriotic Reform Party of Libya ;
- The National Front for the Salvation of Libya ;
- The Justice and Development Party.
Current Political Leaders
President: Nuri Abu SAHMAYN
Head of government: Abdullah al-THANI (since 4 May 2014)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: NA
Legislative: first National Congress election held on 7 July 2012 (next to be held NA)

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures the 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 sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. 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:
6 places down compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders


Indicator of Political Freedom


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.

Not Free
Political Freedom:

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House


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Last Updates: October 2014