Introduction ::Libya


The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911 and did not relinquish their hold until 1943 when defeated in World War II. Libya then passed to UN administration and achieved independence in 1951. Following a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar al-QADHAFI assumed leadership and began to espouse his political system at home, which was a combination of socialism and Islam. During the 1970s, QADHAFI used oil revenues to promote his ideology outside Libya, supporting subversive and terrorist activities that included the downing of two airliners - one over Scotland, another in Northern Africa - and a discotheque bombing in Berlin. UN sanctions in 1992 isolated QADHAFI politically and economically following the attacks; sanctions were lifted in 2003 following Libyan acceptance of responsibility for the bombings and agreement to claimant compensation. QADHAFI also agreed to end Libya's program to develop weapons of mass destruction, and he made significant strides in normalizing relations with Western nations. Unrest that began in several Middle Eastern and North African countries in late 2010 erupted in Libyan cities in early 2011. QADHAFI's brutal crackdown on protesters spawned a civil war that triggered UN authorization of air and naval intervention by the international community. After months of seesaw fighting between government and opposition forces, the QADHAFI regime was toppled in mid-2011 and replaced by a transitional government. Libya in 2012 formed a new parliament and elected a new prime minister.

Geography ::Libya


Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria

Geographic coordinates:

25 00 N, 17 00 E


total: 1,759,540 sq km

country comparison to the world: 17

land: 1,759,540 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than Alaska

Land boundaries:

total: 4,348 km

border countries: Algeria 982 km, Chad 1,055 km, Egypt 1,115 km, Niger 354 km, Sudan 383 km, Tunisia 459 km


1,770 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

note: Gulf of Sidra closing line - 32 degrees, 30 minutes north

exclusive fishing zone: 62 nm


Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior


mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Sabkhat Ghuzayyil -47 m

highest point: Bikku Bitti 2,267 m

Natural resources:

petroleum, natural gas, gypsum

Land use:

arable land: 0.99%

permanent crops: 0.19%

other: 98.82% (2011)

Irrigated land:

4,700 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

0.7 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 4.33 cu km/yr (14%/3%/83%)

per capita: 796.1 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

hot, dry, dust-laden ghibli is a southern wind lasting one to four days in spring and fall; dust storms, sandstorms

Environment - current issues:

desertification; limited natural freshwater resources; the Great Manmade River Project, the largest water development scheme in the world, brings water from large aquifers under the Sahara to coastal cities

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note:

more than 90% of the country is desert or semidesert

People and Society ::Libya


noun: Libyan(s)

adjective: Libyan

Ethnic groups:

Berber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians)


Arabic (official), Italian, English (all widely understood in the major cities); Berber (Nafusi, Ghadamis, Suknah, Awjilah, Tamasheq)


Sunni Muslim (official) 97%, other 3%


6,002,347 (July 2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 108

note: includes 166,510 non-nationals

Age structure:

0-14 years: 27.3% (male 837,984/female 800,423)

15-24 years: 18.6% (male 578,780/female 535,828)

25-54 years: 45.6% (male 1,432,265/female 1,302,187)

55-64 years: 4.6% (male 143,862/female 134,414)

65 years and over: 3.9% (male 120,043/female 116,561) (2013 est.)

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 52.1 %

youth dependency ratio: 44.8 %

elderly dependency ratio: 7.3 %

potential support ratio: 13.7 (2013)

Median age:

total: 27.1 years

male: 27.2 years

female: 26.9 years (2013 est.)

Population growth rate:

4.85% (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Birth rate:

18.74 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 100

Death rate:

3.56 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 212

Net migration rate:

33.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1


urban population: 77.7% of total population (2011)

rate of urbanization: 1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

TRIPOLI (capital) 1.095 million (2009)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.09 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.04 male(s)/female

total population: 1.08 male(s)/female (2013 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:

58 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

country comparison to the world: 103

Infant mortality rate:

total: 12.26 deaths/1,000 live births

country comparison to the world: 128

male: 13.25 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 11.22 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 75.83 years

country comparison to the world: 88

male: 74.17 years

female: 77.57 years (2013 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.09 children born/woman (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

Contraceptive prevalence rate:

45.2% (1995)

Health expenditures:

3.9% of GDP (2010)

country comparison to the world: 170

Physicians density:

1.9 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density:

3.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source:


urban: 54% of population

rural: 55% of population

total: 54% of population


urban: 46% of population

rural: 45% of population

total: 46% of population (2000 est.)

Sanitation facility access:


urban: 97% of population

rural: 96% of population

total: 97% of population


urban: 3% of population

rural: 4% of population

total: 3% of population (2010 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.3% (2001 est.)

country comparison to the world: 90

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

10,000 (2001 est.)

country comparison to the world: 95

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

27.8% (2008)

country comparison to the world: 35

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

5.6% (2007)

country comparison to the world: 84

Education expenditures:



definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 89.5%

male: 95.8%

female: 83.3% (2011 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 16 years

male: 16 years

female: 16 years (2003)

Government ::Libya

Country name:

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Libya

local long form: none

local short form: Libiya

Government type:

operates under a transitional government


name: Tripoli (Tarabulus)

geographic coordinates: 32 53 N, 13 10 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Friday in March; ends last Friday in October

note: on 10 November 2012, Libya changed its standard time from UTC+2 to UTC+1

Administrative divisions:

22 districts (shabiyat, singular - shabiyat); Al Butnan, Al Jabal al Akhdar, Al Jabal al Gharbi, Al Jafarah, Al Jufrah, Al Kufrah, Al Marj, Al Marqab, Al Wahat, An Nuqat al Khams, Az Zawiyah, Banghazi, Darnah, Ghat, Misratah, Murzuq, Nalut, Sabha, Surt, Tarabulus, Wadi al Hayat, Wadi ash Shati


24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship)

National holiday:

Liberation Day, 23 October (2011)


none; note - Libya has yet to draft a new constitution

Legal system:

Libya's post-revolution legal system is in flux and driven by state and non-state entities

International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


18 years of age, universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President, General National Congress Nuri Abu SAHMAYN

head of government: Prime Minister Ali ZAYDAN (since 14 October 2012); Deputy Prime Ministers Awad Ibrik Ibrahim al-BARASI, Al-Sadiq Abd al-Karim Abd al-Rahman KARIM, Abd-al-Salam Muhammad al-Mahdi al-QADI

cabinet: new cabinet approved by the National Congress on 31 October 2012

(For more information visit the World Leaders website )

elections: prime minister and National Congress president elected by the National Congress

election results: NA

Legislative branch:

unicameral General National Congress (200 seats; 120 individual seats elected from 69 constituencies and 80 party list seats elected from 20 constituencies; member term NA)

elections: first General National Congress election held on 7 July 2012 (next to be held NA)

election results: percent of vote for party list seats only - NFA 48.7%, JCP 21.3%, other parties 30%; list and constituent seats - NFA 39, JCP 17, other 24, independents 120

Judicial branch:

highest court(s): NA; note - government in transition

Political parties and leaders:

Al-Watan (Homeland) Party

Justice and Construction Party or JCP [Muhammad SAWAN]

National Front (initially the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, formed in 1981 as a diaspora opposition group)

National Forces Alliance or NFA [Mahmoud JIBRIL] (includes many political organizations, NGOs, and independents)

Union for the Homeland [Abd al-Rahman al-SUWAYHILI]

note: list includes some of the larger political parties and leaders

Political pressure groups and leaders:


International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Suleiman ABULHI

chancery: 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 705, Washington, DC 20037

telephone: [1] (202) 944-9601

FAX: [1] (202) 944-9606

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Deborah K. JONES

note: on 11 September 2012, US Ambassador Christopher STEVENS and three other American diplomats were killed in an attack by heavily armed militants on a US diplomatic post in the eastern city of Benghazi

embassy: Sidi Slim Area/Walie Al-Ahed Road, Tripoli

mailing address: US Embassy, 8850 Tripoli Place, Washington, DC 20521-8850

telephone: [218] (0) 91-220-3239

Flag description:

three horizontal bands of red (top), black (double width), and green with a white crescent and star centered on the black stripe; the National Transitional Council reintroduced this flag design of the former Kingdom of Libya (1951-1969) on 27 February 2011; it replaced the former all-green banner promulgated by the QADHAFI regime in 1977; the colors represent the three major regions of the country: red stands for Fezzan, black symbolizes Cyrenaica, and green denotes Tripolitania; the crescent and star represent Islam, the main religion of the country

National symbol(s):

star and crescent; hawk

National anthem:

name: ""Allahu Akbar"" (God Is Greatest)

lyrics/music: Mahmoud el-SHERIF/Abdalla Shams el-DIN

note: adopted 1969; the anthem was originally a battle song for the Egyptian Army in the 1956 Suez War

Economy ::Libya

Economy - overview:

Libya's economy is structured primarily around the nation's energy sector, which generates about 95% of export earnings, 80% of GDP, and 99% of government income. Substantial revenue from the energy sector coupled with a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, but Tripoli largely has not used its significant financial resources to develop national infrastructure or the economy, leaving many citizens poor. In the final five years of QADHAFI''s rule, Libya made some progress on economic reform as part of a broader campaign to reintegrate the country into the international fold. This effort picked up steam after UN sanctions were lifted in September 2003 and after Libya announced in December 2003 that it would abandon programs to build weapons of mass destruction. The process of lifting US unilateral sanctions began in the spring of 2004; all sanctions were removed by June 2006, helping Libya attract greater foreign direct investment, especially in the energy and banking sectors. Libyan oil and gas licensing rounds drew high international interest, but new rounds are unlikely to be successful until Libya establishes a more permanent government and is able to offer more attractive financial terms on contracts and increase security. Libya faces a long road ahead in liberalizing its primarily socialist economy, but the revolution has unleashed previously restrained entrepreneurial activity and increased the potential for the evolution of a more market-based economy. The service and construction sectors, which account for roughly 60% of GDP, expanded over the past five years and could become a larger share of GDP if Tripoli prioritizes capital spending on development projects once political and security uncertainty subside. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit agricultural output, and Libya imports about 80% of its food. Libya''s primary agricultural water source is the Great Manmade River Project.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$78.63 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83

$38.45 billion (2011 est.)

$101.4 billion (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$81.92 billion (2012 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

104.5% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

-62.1% (2011 est.)

5% (2010 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$12,300 (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 104

$6,100 (2011 est.)

$15,900 (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars

Gross national saving:

40.8% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 10

8.2% of GDP (2011 est.)

33.9% of GDP (2010 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 42.9%

government consumption: 14.2%

investment in fixed capital: 4.7%

investment in inventories: 0.4%

exports of goods and services: 60.7%

imports of goods and services: -23%

(2012 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 1.6%

industry: 43.5%

services: 54.9% (2012 est.)

Agriculture - products:

wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle


petroleum, petrochemicals, aluminum, iron and steel, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement

Industrial production growth rate:

117% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Labor force:

1.875 million (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 125

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 17%

industry: 23%

services: 59% (2004 est.)

Unemployment rate:

30% (2004 est.)

country comparison to the world: 180

Population below poverty line:


note: about one-third of Libyans live at or below the national poverty line

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $57.58 billion

expenditures: $35.07 billion (2012 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

70.3% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 3

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

27.5% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 2

Public debt:

3.5% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 154

10.2% of GDP (2011 est.)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

6.1% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

15.9% (2011 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

9.52% (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106

3% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

6% (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

6% (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$45.07 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 48

$40.88 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of broad money:

$42.39 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71

$44.76 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$47.11 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

$38.71 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:


Current account balance:

$33.32 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

$4.002 billion (2011 est.)


$52.12 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 58

$15.03 billion (2011 est.)

Exports - commodities:

crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, chemicals

Exports - partners:

Italy 23.5%, Germany 12.5%, China 11.3%, France 9.7%, Spain 7.6%, UK 4.7%, US 4.5% (2012)


$18.1 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 79

$11.17 billion (2011 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery, semi-finished goods, food, transport equipment, consumer products

Imports - partners:

China 13.7%, Turkey 12.3%, Italy 8.7%, Tunisia 7.3%, South Korea 6.2%, Greece 5.4%, Germany 4.9% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$117.2 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

$105 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Debt - external:

$5.278 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 119

$4.882 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$16.72 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 76

$16.43 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$17.17 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 48

$16.89 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Exchange rates:

Libyan dinars (LYD) per US dollar -

1.262 (2012 est.)

1.2242 (2011 est.)

1.2668 (2010 est.)

1.2535 (2009)

1.2112 (2008)

Energy ::Libya

Electricity - production:

28.6 billion kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 64

Electricity - consumption:

24.29 billion kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 67

Electricity - exports:

124 million kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 68

Electricity - imports:

73 million kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

6.766 million kW (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

100% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 128

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 179

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 150

Crude oil - production:

502,400 bbl/day (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 30

Crude oil - exports:

1.039 million bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

Crude oil - imports:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

Crude oil - proved reserves:

48.08 billion bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

Refined petroleum products - production:

309,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 43

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

314,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 43

Refined petroleum products - exports:

84,490 bbl/day (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44

Refined petroleum products - imports:

575.3 bbl/day (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 200

Natural gas - production:

16.81 billion cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 35

Natural gas - consumption:

6.844 billion cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 54

Natural gas - exports:

9.97 billion cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 21

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 90

Natural gas - proved reserves:

1.495 trillion cu m (1 January 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

60.6 million Mt (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 55

Communications ::Libya

Telephones - main lines in use:

1 million (2011)

country comparison to the world: 78

Telephones - mobile cellular:

10 million (2011)

country comparison to the world: 77

Telephone system:

general assessment: telecommunications system is state-owned and service is poor, but investment is being made to upgrade; state retains monopoly in fixed-line services; mobile-cellular telephone system became operational in 1996

domestic: multiple providers for a mobile telephone system that is growing rapidly; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity has soared

international: country code - 218; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat, NA Arabsat, and NA Intersputnik; submarine cable to France and Italy; microwave radio relay to Tunisia and Egypt; tropospheric scatter to Greece; participant in Medarabtel (2010)

Broadcast media:

state-funded and private TV stations; some provinces operate local TV stations; pan-Arab satellite TV stations are available; state-funded radio (2012)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

17,926 (2012)

country comparison to the world: 121

Internet users:

353,900 (2009)

country comparison to the world: 124

Transportation ::Libya


146 (2013)

country comparison to the world: 41

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 68

over 3,047 m: 23

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 30

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 78

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 5

1,524 to 2,437 m: 14

914 to 1,523 m: 37

under 914 m:

20 (2013)


2 (2013)


condensate 882 km; gas 3,743 km; oil 7,005 km (2013)


total: 100,024 km

country comparison to the world: 43

paved: 57,214 km

unpaved: 42,810 km (2003)

Merchant marine:

total: 23

country comparison to the world: 91

by type: cargo 2, chemical tanker 4, liquefied gas 3, petroleum tanker 13, roll on/roll off 1

foreign-owned: 2 (Kuwait 1, Norway 1)

registered in other countries: 6 (Hong Kong 1, Malta 5) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

Az Zawiyah, Marsa al Burayqah (Marsa el Brega), Ra's Lanuf, Tripoli

Military ::Libya

Military branches:

note - in transition; government attempting to staff a new national army with anti-QADAFI militia fighters and former members of QADAFI's military (2008)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for mandatory or voluntary service (2012)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 1,775,078

females age 16-49: 1,714,194 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 1,511,144

females age 16-49: 1,458,934 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 59,547

female: 57,070 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

3.1% of GDP (2012)

country comparison to the world: 39

Transnational Issues ::Libya

Disputes - international:

dormant disputes include Libyan claims of about 32,000 sq km still reflected on its maps of southeastern Algeria and the FLN's assertions of a claim to Chirac Pastures in southeastern Morocco; various Chadian rebels from the Aozou region reside in southern Libya

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

IDPs: 74,000 (conflict between pro-Qadhafi and anti-Qadhafi forces; figure does not include displaced third-country nationals) (2012)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Libya is a destination and transit country for men and women from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution; migrants who seek employment in Libya as laborers and domestic workers or transit Libya en route to Europe may be subject to forced labor; private employers also recruit migrants from detention centers as forced laborers on farms and construction sites; some sub-Saharan women are reportedly forced to work in Libyan brothels

tier rating: Tier 3 - the Libyan Government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government has failed to demonstrate significant efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenders or to protect trafficking victims; policies and practices with respect to undocumented migrant workers has resulted in Libyan authorities detaining and punishing trafficking victims for unlawful acts that were committed as a result of being trafficked; no public anti-trafficking awareness campaigns are conducted; officials receive no training on trafficking issues (2013)"

The World Factbook. 2014.

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