Libya

Country Summary

Introduction

Background

Berbers have inhabited central north Africa since ancient times, but the region has been settled and ruled by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Vandals. The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911, but relinquished their hold in 1943, when they were defeated in World War II. Libya then passed to UN administration and achieved independence in 1951.

Geography

Area

total: 1,759,540 sq km
land: 1,759,540 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Climate

Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, gypsum

People and Society

Population

7,252,573 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

Berber 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); Berber (Nafusi, Ghadamis, Suknah, Awjilah, Tamasheq)

Religions

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

Population growth rate

1.54% (2023 est.)

Government

Government type

in transition

Capital

name: Tripoli (Tarabulus)

Executive branch

chief of state: Chairman, Presidential Council, Mohammed Al MENFI (since 5 February 2021)
head of government: Interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid DUBAYBAH (since 5 February 2021)

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

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)

$147.942 billion (2021 est.)
$112.612 billion (2020 est.)
$148.037 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$22,000 (2021 est.)
$16,900 (2020 est.)
$22,500 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

potatoes, watermelons, tomatoes, onions, dates, milk, olives, wheat, poultry, vegetables

Industries

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

Remittances

0% of GDP (2019 est.)
0% of GDP (2018 est.)
0% of GDP (2017 est.)

Exports

$9.537 billion (2020 est.)
$29.326 billion (2019 est.)
$29.964 billion (2018 est.)

Exports - partners

Italy 18%, China 16%, Germany 15%, Spain 15%, United Arab Emirates 6%, France 6%, United States 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, natural gas, refined petroleum, scrap iron, gold (2021)

Imports

$14.334 billion (2020 est.)
$25.368 billion (2019 est.)
$18.849 billion (2018 est.)

Imports - partners

China 16%, Turkey 14%, Italy 9%, United Arab Emirates 9%, Egypt 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, broadcasting equipment, cigarettes, jewelry (2019)

Exchange rates

Libyan dinars (LYD) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
4.514 (2021 est.)
1.389 (2020 est.)
1.398 (2019 est.)
1.365 (2018 est.)
1.394 (2017 est.)


Page last updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2023