Poverty in Libya

Prior to Muammar Gaddafi’s assassination, Libya was a thriving African nation. However, since then, the country has been trapped in an ongoing civil war, and poverty in Libya has increased.

  1. Before Gaddafi’s assassination, Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy of all African countries. According to Global Research, Libya actually had fewer people living in poverty than the Netherlands.
  2. Oil was the main driving force behind Libya’s economy, but the events of the past five years led to a slump in production. According to CNN, Libya extracted nearly 1.6 million barrels per day in 2010. In 2011, the year that Gaddafi was killed, production declined more than threefold.
  3. According to the CIA, Libya’s GDP declined by 49 percent because the Libyan government continued to provide salaries and subsidies to the workforce despite the lack of oil funds.
  4. Libya has received the largest number of African migrants trying to escape to Europe. According to CNN, about 700,000 to 1 million migrants were in Libya at the beginning of August 2016.
  5. Libya has successfully established a unified authority, called the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is supported by the United Nations. While the GNA still faces some opposition, it received majority support from Libya’s House of Representatives. Since its inception, the GNA has attempted to bring two formerly opposing factions, the House of Representatives and the Libya Dawn coalition, back together.
  6. The United Nations Security Council extended the activity of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) until December 15, 2016. UNSMIL was formed to help Libya solidify the legitimacy of its unified government, and the increased duration of the program will hopefully allow that goal to be achieved more quickly and peacefully.
  7. A rival government in Libya called the National Salvation Government stepped down last April in order to stop future violence. This development furthered the GNA’s goal of establishing itself as the sole authority in Libya.

Many of these factors have helped perpetuate poverty in Libya. However, though the situation in Libya appears bleak, some positive development has taken place with the GNA being established as a major power.

Edmond Kim

Photo: Flickr