Libya drives for new foreign investment
Libya, seeking a way back to the international community after its years of isolation, is wishing to attract foreign investment by reforming its laws and selling off several state-owned companies.
Libyan authorities announced last week a first list of ten public enterprises that can receive foreign capital.
A few years ago Libya began to devise laws to reorganize economic activity - lifting restrictions on the use of foreign currencies and allowing foreign banks to open branches.
Two years ago, it set up an independent body to encourage foreign investments and elaborated an investment law.
Libya has been in international isolation since the early 1990's when sanctions were applied for its suspected involvement in the bombing of a US Pan-Am airliner over the Scottish village of Lockerbie in 1988 .
The isolation started to ease after Libya handed over two its nationals suspected of being behind the bombing for trial at the Hague, Netherlands.
Oil rich Libya made no serious effort to develop its industrial fabric, which remains largely reliant on state subsidies. The Libyan government spends huge amounts of money to keep some industries working.
Despite their country's bleak record as terrorist-backing state, the Libyans bet on their strong infrastructure and strategic location in North Africa to attract foreign investors, especially the European ones.
Libya's aspiration to draw foreign investment seems sensible. However, repeated statements made by the leader Moammar Kaddafi condemning the new world economic order scarecely seem geared to attract foreign business.
Over the weekend, Kaddafi called on Third World countries to leave the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, accusing them of being behind rising world poverty. –(Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)