Nation at a Glance - Libya

History

The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911 and did not relinquish their hold until 1943 when they were 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. The country subsequently elected the House of Representatives in 2014, but remnants of the outgoing legislature refused to leave office and created a rival, Islamist-led government, the General National Congress. In October 2015, UN envoy to Libya, Bernardino LEON, proposed a power-sharing arrangement - known as the Libyan Political Agreement, which was signed by the rival governments two months later and subsequently endorsed by the UN. The agreement called for the formation of an interim Government of National Accord or GNA and the holding of general elections within two years. However, as of December 2016, the GNA had not secured House approval and several elements of the Libyan Political Agreement remained stalled, resulting in rival governments continuing to operate independently.

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

Border Countries: Algeria 989 km, Chad 1,050 km, Egypt 1,115 km, Niger 342 km, Sudan 382 km, Tunisia 461 km

Total Area: 1,759,540 sq km Land: 1,759,540 sq km Water: 0 sq km

Climate: Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior

Terrain: Mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, gypsum

Land use: Agricultural land: 8.8% arable land 1%; permanent crops 0.2%; permanent pasture 7.6%Forest: 0.1% Other: 91.1% (2011 est.)

Ethnic groups: Berber and Arab 97%, Other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians)

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

Religions: Muslim (official; virtually all Sunni) 96.6%, Christian 2.7%, Buddhist 0.3%, Hindu <0.1, Jewish <0.1, Kolk religion <0.1, Unafilliated 0.2%, Other <0.1

Population: 6,541,948 (July 2015 est.)

Literacy: 91%; Male: 96.7%; Female: 85.6% (2015 est.)

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

Economy: Libya's economy, almost entirely dependent on oil and gas exports, has struggled since 2014 given security and political instability, disruptions in oil production, and decline in global oil prices. The Libyan dinar has lost much of its value since 2014 and the resulting gap between official and black market exchange rates has spurred the growth of a shadow economy and contributed to inflation. The country suffers from widespread power outages, caused by shortages of fuel for power generation. Living conditions, including access to clean drinking water, medical services, and safe housing have all declined since 2011. Oil production in 2017 reached a five-year high, driving GDP growth, with daily average production rising to 879,000 barrels per day. However, oil production levels remain below the average pre-Revolution highs of 1.6 million barrels per day. The Central Bank of Libya continued to pay government salaries to a majority of the Libyan workforce and to fund subsidies for fuel and food, resulting in an estimated budget deficit of about 17% of GDP in 2017. Low consumer confidence in the banking sector and the economy as a whole has driven a severe liquidity shortage.

Agriculture - products: Wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle

Industries: Petroleum, petrochemicals, aluminum, iron and steel, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement

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