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Libya Offers Promise But Much Risk

· Africa,Economics,Economic Trends

Libya Offers Promise But Much Risk

According to the International Monetary Fund, Libya's economic growth rate comes in at first place out of every country they monitor. Furthermore, Libya's eye-popping 15% growth rate clocked in during 2018 is expected to climb to 20% in 2019. After years of political uncertainty and constant chaos and civil war, the country is starting to see a modicum of normalcy.

Being murdered on the streets can have a significantly negative effect on local commerce. Though things have improved immensely since the years directly following the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi's ruling regime in October of 2011.

However, the level of danger is still unacceptably high for many major western corporations to enter the country, as the threat of kidnapping and murder still remains extremely likely. Libya's published murder rate puts it 136 in the world, but the US Department of State places Libya 7th on its most dangerous list of terrorist countries.

A US firm, The Guidry Group, has been awarded the rights to build the largest port in North Africa, the Port of Susah. The project would be protected by the Libyan National Army. The hope is to keep the port well fortified since it will not be built for land based cargo. In fact, the port is intended to take in gigantic open ocean container ships, who will then unload their cargo which will be taken to many neighboring countries in smaller boats. These neighboring countries lack the sophistication and sea depth in their ports needed to take on major international cargo ships.

The army has also been tasked with guarding many of the major petroleum assets in the country. Oilfields and refineries are constantly being seized by militias and bandits. In fact Libya's largest oil field, the Sharara, has been shut down for months because of an armed militant group that has forcibly occupied much of the land. This field alone is capable of pumping nearly 350,000 barrels of oil per day.

Most of Libya still loves in poverty. The UN office for Humanitarian Affairs puts 11% of the population in dire need. Will Libya break free from its dangerous war torn state and continue on the path to peace and prosperity? Or will the weak UN-backed government lose the support of the 4 ruling militias? Or will weaker militias attack one of the larger militias out of jealousy putting Libya back into an all out civil war?

Written by Alexander Fleiss

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