Photos of Libya

The amazingly well-preserved Roman theater at Sabratha, in northwestern Libya on the Mediterranean Sea (visible in the distance). Although Libya is not often associated with ancient Rome, much of the north African Mediterranean coastal area was incorporated into the Roman Empire in the first century B.C. Sabratha was an important commercial port city during the early centuries A.D. and made its fortune as a terminus of the trans-Saharan caravan routes. The historic Sabratha site was restored by archaeologists in the 1920s and 1930s and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.

Introduction

Background

Berbers have inhabited central north Africa since ancient times, but Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Persians, Egyptians, Romans, and Vandals have all settled and ruled the region. In the 7th century, Islam spread through the area. In the mid-16th century, Ottoman rule began; the Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911 and held it until 1943, when they were defeated in World War II. Libya then came under UN administration and achieved independence in 1951. Col. Muammar al-QADHAFI assumed leadership with a military coup in 1969 and began to espouse a political system that combined 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 and another in Northern Africa -- and a discotheque bombing in Berlin. UN sanctions in 1992 isolated QADHAFI politically and economically; the sanctions were lifted in 2003 when Libya accepted responsibility for the bombings and agreed 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 2010 erupted in Libyan cities in 2011. QADHAFI's brutal crackdown on protesters spawned an eight-month civil war that saw the emergence of a National Transitional Council (NTC), UN authorization of air and naval intervention by the international community, and the toppling of the QADHAFI regime. In 2012, the NTC handed power to an elected parliament, the General National Congress (GNC), which was replaced two years later with the House of Representatives (HoR). In 2015, the UN brokered the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) among a broad array of political parties and social groups, establishing an interim executive body. However, hardliners continued to oppose and hamper the LPA implementation, leaving Libya with eastern and western-based rival governments. In 2018, the international community supported a recalibrated plan that aimed to break the political deadlock with a National Conference in 2019. These plans, however, were derailed when the eastern-based, self-described Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive to seize Tripoli. The LNA offensive collapsed in 2020, and a subsequent UN-sponsored cease-fire helped formalize the pause in fighting between rival camps.

In 2021, the UN-facilitated Libyan Political Dialogue Forum selected a new prime minister for an interim government -- the Government of National Unity (GNU) -- and a new presidential council charged with preparing for elections and uniting the country’s state institutions. The HoR approved the GNU and its cabinet the same year, providing Libya with its first unified government since 2014, but the parliament then postponed the planned presidential election to an undetermined date in the future. In 2022, the HoR voted to replace GNU interim Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid DUBAYBAH, with another government led by Fathi BASHAGHA. GNU allegations of an illegitimate HoR vote allowed DUBAYBAH to remain in office and rebuff BASHAGHA's attempts to seat his government in Tripoli. In 2023, the HoR voted to replace BASHAGHA with Osma HAMAD. Special Representative of the UN Security-General for Libya, Abdoulaye BATHILY, is leading international efforts to persuade key Libyan political actors to resolve the core issues impeding elections. 

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Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

25 00 N, 17 00 E

Area

total: 1,759,540 sq km

land: 1,759,540 sq km

water: 0 sq km

comparison ranking: total 18

Area - comparative

about 2.5 times the size of Texas; slightly larger than Alaska

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 4,339 km

border countries (6): Algeria 989 km; Chad 1,050 km; Egypt 1,115 km; Niger 342 km; Sudan 382 km; Tunisia 461 km

Coastline

1,770 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 62 nm

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

Climate

Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior

Terrain

mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions

Elevation

highest point: Bikku Bitti 2,267 m

lowest point: Sabkhat Ghuzayyil -47 m

mean elevation: 423 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, gypsum

Land use

agricultural land: 8.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 7.6% (2018 est.)

forest: 0.1% (2018 est.)

other: 91.1% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

4,700 sq km (2012)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Lake Chad (2,497,738 sq km)

Major aquifers

Nubian Aquifer System, North Western Sahara Aquifer System, Murzuk-Djado Basin

Population distribution

well over 90% of the population lives along the Mediterranean coast in and between Tripoli to the west and Al Bayda to the east; the interior remains vastly underpopulated due to the Sahara and lack of surface water as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

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

Geography - note

note 1: more than 90% of the country is desert or semidesert

note 2: the volcano Waw an Namus lies in south central Libya in the middle of the Sahara; the caldera is an oasis - the name means "oasis of mosquitoes" - containing several small lakes surrounded by vegetation and hosting various insects and a large diversity of birds

People and Society

Population

total: 7,361,263

male: 3,747,364

female: 3,613,899 (2024 est.)

note: immigrants make up just over 12% of the total population, according to UN data (2019)

comparison rankings: female 105; male 105; total 105

Nationality

noun: Libyan(s)

adjective: Libyan

Ethnic groups

Amazigh and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Italian, Maltese, Pakistani, Tunisian, and Turkish)

Languages

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

major-language sample(s):
كتاب حقائق العالم، المصدر الذي لا يمكن الاستغناء عنه للمعلومات الأساسية (Arabic)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Arabic audio sample:

Religions

Muslim (official; virtually all Sunni) 96.6%, Christian 2.7%, Buddhist <1%, Hindu <1%, Jewish <1%, folk religion <1%, other <1%, unaffiliated <1% (2020 est.)

note: non-Sunni Muslims include native Ibadhi Muslims (<1% of the population) and foreign Muslims

MENA religious affiliation

Demographic profile

Despite continuing unrest, Libya remains a destination country for economic migrants. It is also a hub for transit migration to Europe because of its proximity to southern Europe and its lax border controls. Labor migrants have been drawn to Libya since the development of its oil sector in the 1960s. Until the latter part of the 1990s, most migrants to Libya were Arab (primarily Egyptians and Sudanese). However, international isolation stemming from Libya’s involvement in international terrorism and a perceived lack of support from Arab countries led QADHAFI in 1998 to adopt a decade-long pan-African policy that enabled large numbers of Sub-Saharan migrants to enter Libya without visas to work in the construction and agricultural industries. Although Sub-Saharan Africans provided a cheap labor source, they were poorly treated and were subjected to periodic mass expulsions.

By the mid-2000s, domestic animosity toward African migrants and a desire to reintegrate into the international community motivated QADHAFI to impose entry visas on Arab and African immigrants and to agree to joint maritime patrols and migrant repatriations with Italy, the main recipient of illegal migrants departing Libya. As his regime neared collapse in 2011, QADHAFI reversed his policy of cooperating with Italy to curb illegal migration and sent boats loaded with migrants and asylum seekers to strain European resources. Libya’s 2011 revolution decreased immigration drastically and prompted nearly 800,000 migrants to flee to third countries, mainly Tunisia and Egypt, or to their countries of origin. The inflow of migrants declined in 2012 but returned to normal levels by 2013, despite continued hostility toward Sub-Saharan Africans and a less-inviting job market.

While Libya is not an appealing destination for migrants, since 2014, transiting migrants – primarily from East and West Africa – continue to exploit its political instability and weak border controls and use it as a primary departure area to migrate across the central Mediterranean to Europe in growing numbers. In addition, approximately 135,000 people were displaced internally as of  August 2022 by fighting between armed groups in eastern and western Libya and, to a lesser extent, by inter-tribal clashes in the country’s south.

Age structure

0-14 years: 32.3% (male 1,211,087/female 1,165,648)

15-64 years: 63.2% (male 2,385,152/female 2,263,780)

65 years and over: 4.6% (2024 est.) (male 151,125/female 184,471)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 50.8

youth dependency ratio: 43.5

elderly dependency ratio: 7.3

potential support ratio: 13.8 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 26.2 years (2024 est.)

male: 26.3 years

female: 26.2 years

comparison ranking: total 165

Population growth rate

1.44% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 68

Birth rate

20.3 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 65

Death rate

3.5 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 221

Net migration rate

-2.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 172

Population distribution

well over 90% of the population lives along the Mediterranean coast in and between Tripoli to the west and Al Bayda to the east; the interior remains vastly underpopulated due to the Sahara and lack of surface water as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 81.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.45% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

1.183 million TRIPOLI (capital), 984,000 Misratah, 859,000 Benghazi (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female

total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

72 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 84

Infant mortality rate

total: 10.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 12.1 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 9.3 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 128

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.7 years (2024 est.)

male: 75.5 years

female: 80 years

comparison ranking: total population 87

Total fertility rate

3 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 48

Gross reproduction rate

1.46 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 0.1% of population (2020 est.)

Physicians density

2.09 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

3.2 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 99.3% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 0.7% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

32.5% (2016)

comparison ranking: 16

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0.01 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.01 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 184

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

11.7% (2014)

comparison ranking: 48

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 91%

male: 96.7%

female: 85.6% (2015)

Environment

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; water pollution is a significant problem; the combined impact of sewage, oil byproducts, and industrial waste threatens Libya's coast and the Mediterranean Sea

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Law of the Sea

Climate

Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior

Land use

agricultural land: 8.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 7.6% (2018 est.)

forest: 0.1% (2018 est.)

other: 91.1% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 81.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.45% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to civil insecurity, economic and political instability, and high food prices - an estimated 800,000 people, 10% of the population, need humanitarian assistance, of which 500,000 require food assistance; the country relies heavily on imports (up to 90%) to cover its cereal consumption requirements (mostly wheat for human consumption and barley for feed); between 2016 and 2020, the country sourced over 30% of its wheat imports from Ukraine, and 20% from the Russian Federation; almost 65% of total maize imports of 650,000 mt, and 50% of total barley imports of 1 million mt originated from Ukraine, making the Libya vulnerable to disruptions in shipments from the Black Sea region (2022)

Revenue from forest resources

0.06% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 124

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 97

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 29.84 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 50.56 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 45.76 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2,147,596 tons (2011 est.)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Lake Chad (2,497,738 sq km)

Major aquifers

Nubian Aquifer System, North Western Sahara Aquifer System, Murzuk-Djado Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 700 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 280 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 4.85 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

700 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: State of Libya

conventional short form: Libya

local long form: Dawlat Libiya

local short form: Libiya

etymology: name derives from the Libu, an ancient Libyan tribe first mentioned in texts from the 13th century B.C.

Government type

in transition

Capital

name: Tripoli (Tarabulus)

geographic coordinates: 32 53 N, 13 10 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: originally founded by the Phoenicians as Oea in the 7th century B.C., the city changed rulers many times over the successive centuries; by the beginning of the 3rd century A.D. the region around the city was referred to as Regio Tripolitana by the Romans, meaning "region of the three cities" - namely Oea (i.e., modern Tripoli), Sabratha (to the west), and Leptis Magna (to the east); over time, the shortened name of "Tripoli" came to refer to just Oea, which derives from the Greek words tria and polis meaning "three cities"

Administrative divisions

22 governorates (muhafazah, singular - muhafazat); 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 (Benghazi), Darnah, Ghat, Misratah, Murzuq, Nalut, Sabha, Surt, Tarabulus (Tripoli), Wadi al Hayat, Wadi ash Shati

Independence

24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship)

National holiday

Liberation Day, 23 October (2011)

Constitution

history: previous 1951, 1977; in July 2017, the Constitutional Assembly completed and approved a draft of a new permanent constitution; in September 2018, the House of Representatives passed a constitutional referendum law in a session with contested reports of the quorum needed to pass the vote and submitted it to the High National Elections Commission in December to begin preparations for a constitutional referendum

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

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent or grandparent must be a citizen of Libya

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: varies from 3 to 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age, universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President, Presidential Council, Mohammed Al MENFI (since 5 February 2021)

head of government: GNU Interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid DUBAYBAH (since 5 February 2021)

elections/appointments:

Libya’s first direct presidential election, scheduled for 24 December 2021, was not held; no new date has been set for elections

Legislative branch

description: unicameral House of Representatives (Majlis Al Nuwab) or HoR (200 seats including 32 reserved for women; members directly elected by majority vote; member term NA); note - the High State Council serves as an advisory group for the HoR

elections: last held on 25 June 2014

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; note - only 188 of the 200 seats were filled in the June 2014 election because of boycotts and lack of security at some polling stations; some elected members of the House of Representatives also boycotted the election

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Libya's judicial system consists of a supreme court, central high courts (in Tripoli, Benghazi, and Sabha), and a series of lower courts; the judicial system is factious given the ongoing tension between Libya's eastern and western regions; since 2011, Libyan political factions and armed groups have targeted judges and courthouses

International organization participation

ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, BDEAC, CAEU, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, LCBC, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNSMIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Fadil S M OMAR (since 17 July 2023)

chancery: 1460 Dahlia Street NW, Washington, DC 20012

telephone: [1] (202) 944-9601

FAX: [1] (202) 944-9606

email address and website:
info@embassyoflibyadc.com

https://www.embassyoflibyadc.org/

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Jeremy BERNDT (since 14 October 2023)

embassy: US Embassy Tripoli operations suspended in 2014

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

telephone: [216] 71-107-000

email address and website:
Webmaster_Libya@state.gov

https://ly.usembassy.gov/

note: the US Embassy in Tripoli closed in July 2014 due to Libyan civil unrest; embassy staff and operations currently are located at US Embassy Tunis, Tunisia

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 colors: red, black, green

National anthem

name: "Libya, Libya, Libya"

lyrics/music: Al Bashir AL AREBI/Mohamad Abdel WAHAB

note: also known as "Ya Beladi" or "Oh, My Country!"; adopted 1951; readopted 2011 with some modification to the lyrics; during the QADHAFI years between 1969 and 2011, the anthem was "Allahu Akbar," (God is Great) a marching song of the Egyptian Army in the 1956 Suez War

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 5 (all cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Archaeological Site of Cyrene; Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna, Archaeological Site of Sabratha; Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus; Old Town of Ghadamès

Economy

Economic overview

upper middle-income, fossil fuel-based North African economy; 31% economic contraction due to COVID-19 and 2020 oil blockade; reduced government spending; central bank had to devalue currency; public wages are over 60% of expenditures

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$134.861 billion (2022 est.)
$136.55 billion (2021 est.)
$103.941 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 83

Real GDP growth rate

-1.24% (2022 est.)
31.37% (2021 est.)
-29.79% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 200

Real GDP per capita

$19,800 (2022 est.)
$20,300 (2021 est.)
$15,600 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 94

GDP (official exchange rate)

$45.752 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

4.51% (2022 est.)
2.87% (2021 est.)
1.45% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 69

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 52.3% (2017 est.)

services: 46.4% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 193; industry 8; agriculture 192

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 71.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 19.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 2.7% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 1.3% (2016 est.)

exports of goods and services: 38.8% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -33.8% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

potatoes, watermelons, tomatoes, onions, dates, milk, olives, chicken, wheat, vegetables (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate

-9.9% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 210

Labor force

2.327 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 122

Unemployment rate

19.3% (2022 est.)
19.71% (2021 est.)
19.71% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 205

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 50.5% (2021 est.)

male: 41.4%

female: 73.8%

comparison ranking: total 4

Population below poverty line

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

Remittances

0% of GDP (2022 est.)
0% of GDP (2021 est.)
0% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $28.005 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $37.475 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-25.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 219

Public debt

4.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
7.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 203

Taxes and other revenues

51.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 5

Current account balance

$5.675 billion (2021 est.)
-$4.78 billion (2020 est.)
$4.817 billion (2019 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 34

Exports

$32.38 billion (2021 est.)
$9.537 billion (2020 est.)
$29.326 billion (2019 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 78

Exports - partners

Italy 26%, Spain 10%, Germany 9%, China 7%, France 6% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, natural gas, gold, refined petroleum, scrap iron (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$25.406 billion (2021 est.)
$14.334 billion (2020 est.)
$25.368 billion (2019 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 86

Imports - partners

Turkey 15%, China 12%, Italy 12%, Greece 10%, UAE 7% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, garments, broadcasting equipment, tobacco (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$86.683 billion (2022 est.)
$82.262 billion (2021 est.)
$79.656 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 29

Debt - external

$3.02 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.116 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 144

Exchange rates

Libyan dinars (LYD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
4.813 (2022 est.)
4.514 (2021 est.)
1.389 (2020 est.)
1.398 (2019 est.)
1.365 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 70.2% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 100% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 10.516 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 25,360,340,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 465 million kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 6.801 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 64; transmission/distribution losses 175; imports 90; exports 192; consumption 69

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 1,252,800 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 219,700 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 1,067,400 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 48.363 billion barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

89,620 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 69

Refined petroleum products - exports

16,880 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 71

Refined petroleum products - imports

168,200 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 36

Natural gas

production: 12,414,736,000 cubic meters (2020 est.)

consumption: 7,669,690,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 4,441,150,000 cubic meters (2020 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 1,504,868,000,000 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

38.297 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 30.018 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 8.279 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 68

Energy consumption per capita

107.118 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 53

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1.218 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 18 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 67

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 13.94 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 205 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 74

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: political and security instability in Libya has disrupted its telecom sector; much of its infrastructure remains superior to that in most other African countries; rival operators fight for control; investment in fiber backbone and upgrades to international cables; limited LTE and 5G service; some satellite broadband; in 2021 Libya signed deals and projects with US firms to upgrade portions of its infrastructure, increasing the diversity of its telecommunications networks (2022)

domestic: nearly 23 per 100 fixed-line and over 43 per 100 mobile-cellular subscriptions; service generally adequate (2021)

international: country code - 218; landing points for LFON, EIG, Italy-Libya, Silphium and Tobrok-Emasaed submarine cable system connecting Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat, Arabsat, and Intersputnik;  microwave radio relay to Tunisia and Egypt; tropospheric scatter to Greece; participant in Medarabtel (2019)

Broadcast media

state-funded and private TV stations; some provinces operate local TV stations; pan-Arab satellite TV stations are available; state-funded radio (2019)

Internet users

total: 3,095,400 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 46.2% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 117

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 332,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 5 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 104

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 9 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 55

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 927,153 (2018)

Airports

66 (2024)

comparison ranking: 73

Pipelines

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

Roadways

total: 34,000 km (2021)

comparison ranking: total 95

Merchant marine

total: 96 (2023)

by type: general cargo 2, oil tanker 13, other 81

comparison ranking: total 91

Ports

total ports: 14 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 2

small: 3

very small: 9

ports with oil terminals: 10

key ports: Al Burayqah, Az Zawiya, Banghazi, Mersa Tobruq, Mina Tarabulus (Tripoli)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU) has access to various ground, air, and naval/coast guard forces comprised of a mix of formations and equipment from the QADHAFI regime, semi-regular and nominally integrated units, tribal armed groups/militias, civilian volunteers, and foreign private military contractors and mercenaries; the GNU has a Ministry of Defense, but has limited control over its security forces

the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), under de facto LNA commander Khalifa HAFTER, also includes various ground, air, and naval forces comprised of semi-regular military personnel, militias, and foreign private military contractors and mercenaries; the LNA operates independently from the GNU and exerts influence throughout eastern, central, and southern Libya (2023)

note 1: the Stabilization Support Apparatus (SSA) is a state-funded militia established in January 2021 by the GNA; it is tasked with securing government buildings and officials, participating in combat operations, apprehending those suspected of national security crimes, and cooperating with other security bodies

note 2: the national police force under the Ministry of Interior oversees internal security (with support from military forces under the Ministry of Defense), but much of Libya's security-related police work generally falls to informal armed groups, which receive government salaries but lack formal training, supervision, or consistent accountability

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

both the forces aligned with the GNU and the LNA are largely equipped with weapons of Russian or Soviet origin; in recent years, Turkey has the been the primary supplier of arms to the GNU, while the LNA has received quantities from Russia and the United Arab Emirates (2023)

Military - note

Turkey has provided military advisers to train and assist western/GNU Libyan forces and sent thousands of Syrian mercenaries to Libya, as well as ammunition, weapons, and aerial drones; Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt have been the main supporters of the LNA; Russia has provided as many as 2,000 private military contractors; the LNA has also used fighters from other countries, including Chad, Sudan, and Syria; GNU and LNA forces are separated by a fortified line of control running roughly from the coastal city of Sirte south to the vicinity of Al Jufra and Brak (2023)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): Ansar al-Sharia groups; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham - Libya (ISIS-L); al-Mulathamun Battalion (al-Mourabitoun); al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 11,623 (Syria) (refugees and asylum seekers), 8,302 (Eritrea) (2023); 6,293 (Sudan) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2024)

IDPs: 125,802 (conflict between pro-QADHAFI and anti-QADHAFI forces in 2011; post-QADHAFI tribal clashes 2014) (2023)