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Introduction - Libya:




The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks from 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 Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI began to espouse his own political system, the Third Universal Theory. The system is a combination of socialism and Islam derived in part from tribal practices and is supposed to be implemented by the Libyan people themselves in a unique form of direct democracy. QADHAFI has always seen himself as a revolutionary and visionary leader. He used oil funds during the 1970s and 1980s to promote his ideology outside Libya, supporting subversives and terrorists abroad to hasten the end of Marxism and capitalism. In addition, beginning in 1973, he engaged in military operations in northern Chads Aozou Strip - to gain access to minerals and to use as a base of influence in Chadian politics - but was forced to retreat in 1987. UN sanctions in 1992 isolated QADHAFI politically following the downing of Pan AM Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Libyan support for terrorism appeared to have decreased after the imposition of sanctions. During the 1990s, QADHAFI also began to rebuild his relationships with Europe. UN sanctions were suspended in April 1999 and finally lifted in September 2003 after Libya resolved the Lockerbie case. In December 2003, Libya announced that it had agreed to reveal and end its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction, and QADHAFI has made significant strides in normalizing relations with western nations since then. He has received various Western European leaders as well as many working-level and commercial delegations, and made his first trip to Western Europe in 15 years when he traveled to Brussels in April 2004. QADHAFI also resolved in 2004 some of the outstanding cases against his government for terrorist activities in the 1980s by compensating some families of victims of the Pan Am 103, French airliner UTA, and La Belle disco bombings. The US resumed full diplomatic relations with Libya in May 2006 and rescinded Libyas designation as a state sponsor of terrorism in June.

Location - Libya:


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

Geographic coordinates

25 00 N, 17 00 E

Map references



total: 1,759,540 sq km
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: 1.03%
permanent crops: 0.19%
other: 98.78% (2005)

Irrigated land

4,700 sq km (2003)

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; very limited natural fresh water resources; the Great Manmade River Project, the largest water development scheme in the world, is being built to bring 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 - Libya:


note: includes 166,510 non-nationals (July 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 33.4% (male 1,029,096/female 985,606)
15-64 years: 62.4% (male 1,940,287/female 1,827,429)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 124,892/female 129,604) (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 23.3 years
male: 23.4 years
female: 23.2 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

2.262% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

26.09 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

3.47 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.044 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.062 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.964 male(s)/female
total population: 1.052 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 22.82 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 25.07 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.47 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.88 years
male: 74.64 years
female: 79.23 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

3.21 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rate

0.3% (2001 est.)

Hiv aids people living with hiv aids

10,000 (2001 est.)

Hiv aids deaths



noun: Libyan(s)
adjective: Libyan

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: may be a significant risk in some locations during the transmission season (typically April through October) (2007)

Ethnic groups

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


Sunni Muslim 97%, other 3%


Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.6%
male: 92.4%
female: 72% (2003 est.)

Government - Libya:

Country name

conventional long form: Great Socialist Peoples Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
conventional short form: Libya
local long form: Al Jumahiriyah al Arabiyah al Libiyah ash Shabiyah al Ishtirakiyah al Uzma
local short form: none

Government type

Jamahiriya (a state of the masses) in theory, governed by the populace through local councils; in practice, an authoritarian state


name: Tripoli
geographic coordinates: 32 53 N, 13 10 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

25 municipalities (baladiyat, singular - baladiyah); Ajdabiya, Al Aziziyah, Al Fatih, Al Jabal al Akhdar, Al Jufrah, Al Khums, Al Kufrah, An Nuqat al Khams, Ash Shati, Awbari, Az Zawiyah, Banghazi, Darnah, Ghadamis, Gharyan, Misratah, Murzuq, Sabha, Sawfajjin, Surt, Tarabulus, Tarhunah, Tubruq, Yafran, Zlitan; note - the 25 municipalities may have been replaced by 13 regions


24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship)

National holiday

Revolution Day, 1 September (1969)


none; note - following the September 1969 military overthrow of the Libyan government, the Revolutionary Command Council replaced the existing constitution with the Constitutional Proclamation in December 1969; in March 1977, Libya adopted the Declaration of the Establishment of the Peoples Authority

Legal system

based on Italian and French civil law systems and Islamic law; separate religious courts; no constitutional provision for judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch

chief of state: Revolutionary Leader Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI (since 1 September 1969); note - holds no official title, but is de facto chief of state
head of government: Secretary of the General Peoples Committee (Prime Minister) al-Baghdadi Ali al-MAHMUDI (since 5 March 2006)
cabinet: General Peoples Committee established by the General Peoples Congress
elections: national elections are indirect through a hierarchy of peoples committees; head of government elected by the General Peoples Congress; election last held March 2006 (next to be held NA)
election results: NA

Legislative branch

unicameral General Peoples Congress (approximately 2,700 seats; members elected indirectly through a hierarchy of peoples committees)

Judicial branch

Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders


Political pressure groups and leaders

various Arab nationalist movements with almost negligible memberships may be functioning clandestinely, as well as some Islamic elements; an anti-QADHAFI Libyan exile movement exists, primarily based in London, but has little influence

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the us

chief of mission: ambassador (vacant); Charge dAffaires Ali AUJALI
chancery: 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 705, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 944-9601
FAX: [1] (202) 944-9060

Diplomatic representation from the us

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge dAffaires ad Interim Charles O. CECIL
embassy: Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel, Souq At-Tlat Al-Qadim, Tripoli
mailing address: US Embassy, 8850 Tripoli Place, Washington, DC 20521-8850
telephone: [218] 21-335-1848

Flag description

plain green; green is the traditional color of Islam (the state religion)

Economy - Libya:

Economy overview

The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contribute about 95% of export earnings, about one-quarter of GDP, and 60% of public sector wages. Substantial revenues from the energy sector coupled with a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, but little of this income flows down to the lower orders of society. Libyan officials in the past four years have made progress on economic reforms 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 as Libya announced in December 2003 that it would abandon programs to build weapons of mass destruction. Almost all US unilateral sanctions against Libya were removed in April 2004, helping Libya attract more foreign direct investment, mostly in the energy sector. Libyan oil and gas licensing rounds continue to draw high international interest; the National Oil Company set a goal of nearly doubling oil production to 3 billion bbl/day by 2010. Libya faces a long road ahead in liberalizing the socialist-oriented economy, but initial steps - including applying for WTO membership, reducing some subsidies, and announcing plans for privatization - are laying the groundwork for a transition to a more market-based economy. The non-oil manufacturing and construction sectors, which account for more than 20% of GDP, have expanded from processing mostly agricultural products to include the production of petrochemicals, iron, steel, and aluminum. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit agricultural output, and Libya imports about 75% of its food. Libyas primary agricultural water source remains the Great Manmade River Project, but significant resources are being invested in desalinization research to meet growing water demands.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$72.68 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$34.2 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

6.1% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$12,300 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 7.3%
industry: 51.3%
services: 41.4% (2006 est.)

Labor force

1.787 million (2006 est.)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: 17%
industry: 23%
services: 59% (2004 est.)

Unemployment rate

30% (2004 est.)

Population below poverty line

7.4% (2005 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate consumer prices

3.1% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

7.4% of GDP (2006 est.)


revenues: $33.34 billion
expenditures: $19.3 billion; including capital expenditures of $5.6 billion (2006 est.)

Public debt

5.6% of GDP (2006 est.)

Agriculture products

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


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

Industrial production growth rate


Electricity production

19.44 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

18.08 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

0 kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

0 kWh (2004)

Oil production

1.72 million bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil consumption

237,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exports

1.326 million bbl/day (2004)

Oil imports

1,233 bbl/day (2004)

Oil proved reserves

42 billion bbl (2006 est.)

Natural gas production

8.06 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

5.93 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas exports

2.13 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas imports

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas proved reserves

1.472 trillion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)

Current account balance

$14.5 billion (2006 est.)


$37.02 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Exports commodities

crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, chemicals

Exports partners

Italy 37.4%, Germany 14.8%, Spain 7.8%, US 6.2%, France 5.6%, Turkey 5.4% (2006)


$14.47 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Imports commodities

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

Imports partners

Italy 18.8%, Germany 7.8%, China 7.5%, Tunisia 6.2%, France 5.8%, Turkey 5.2%, South Korea 4.8%, US 4.6%, UK 4% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$57.48 billion (2006 est.)

Debt external

$4.492 billion (2006 est.)

Economic aid recipient

ODA, $18 million (2004 est.)

Currency code

Libyan dinar (LYD)

Exchange rates

Libyan dinars per US dollar - 1.3108 (2006), 1.3084 (2005), 1.305 (2004), 1.2929 (2003), 1.2707 (2002)

Communications - Libya:

Fiscal year

calendar year

Telephones main lines in use

483,000 (2006)

Telephones mobile cellular

3.928 million (2006)

Telephone system

general assessment: telecommunications system is being modernized; mobile cellular telephone system became operational in 1996
domestic: microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, cellular, tropospheric scatter, and a domestic satellite system with 14 earth stations
international: country code - 218; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat, NA Arabsat, and NA Intersputnik; submarine cables to France and Italy; microwave radio relay to Tunisia and Egypt; tropospheric scatter to Greece; participant in Medarabtel (1999)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 16, FM 3, shortwave 3 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

12 (plus 1 repeater) (1999)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

31 (2006)

Internet users

232,000 (2005)

Transportation - Libya:


141 (2006)

Airports with paved runways

total: 60
over 3,047 m: 23
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 2 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 81
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 41
under 914 m: 18 (2006)


2 (2006)


condensate 882 km; gas 3,481 km; oil 6,916 km (2006)


0 km
note: Libya is working on seven lines totaling 2,757 km of 1.435-m gauge track; it hopes to have trains running by 2008 (2006)


total: 83,200 km
paved: 47,590 km
unpaved: 35,610 km (1999)

Merchant marine

total: 18 ships (1000 GRT or over) 86,034 GRT/89,820 DWT
by type: cargo 10, liquefied gas 3, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 4 (Kuwait 1, Norway 1, Turkey 2) (2006)

Ports and terminals

As Sidrah, Az Zuwaytinah, Marsa al Burayqah, Ras Lanuf, Tripoli, Zawiyah

Military - Libya:

Military branches

Armed Peoples on Duty (APOD, Army), Libyan Arab Navy, Libyan Arab Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Jamahiriya al-Arabia al-Libyya, LAAF) (2007)

Military service age and obligation

17 years of age (2004)

Manpower available for military service

males age 17-49: 1,505,675
females age 17-49: 1,429,152 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 17-49: 1,291,624
females age 17-49: 1,230,824 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually

males age 18-49: 62,034
females age 17-49: 59,533 (2005 est.)

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 8,873 (Palestinian Territories) (2006)

Military expenditures percent of gdp

3.9% (2005 est.)

Disputes international

Libya has claimed more than 32,000 sq km in southeastern Algeria and about 25,000 sq km in the Tommo region of Niger in a currently dormant dispute; various Chadian rebels from the Aozou region reside in southern Libya

This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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