Last updated: July 2nd, 2021
Libya lies on the southern edge of the Mediterranean and borders Egypt and Sudan to the east, Algeria and Tunisia to the west, as well as Niger and Chad to the south. The country is about five times larger than Germany. The capital Tripoli is located on the Mediterranean coast in the west of the country. The second largest city, Benghazi, forms the center on the eastern Mediterranean coast of Libya. About 6.7 million people live in Libya, including around 800,000 immigrants.
The country is constituted as a parliamentary republic headed by a collegial presidential council in which all three historical regions of Libya (Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica) are represented. Its chairman, the former diplomat Mohamed Al-Menfi, was elected in early 2021. Despite the ongoing transition process, tribes and militias play an important role outside of the greater Tripoli area. In January 2020 and again in June 2021, at the invitation of the Federal Government in Berlin, the most important actors agreed on the establishment of political and economic unity in Libya and a national reconciliation process with general elections scheduled for December 2021.
Libya is only one of four Arab countries with which Germany has a foreign trade deficit. In 2020, German imports from Libya exceeded exports by around 397.8 million euros – just a little over ten percent of the value from the previous year. German imports consisted almost exclusively of petroleum, whereas food and machinery make up more than half of German exports. The EU is Libya’s biggest trade partner, representing 51 percent of the country’s global trade in goods in 2020.
The oil and gas industry dominates the Libyan economy. Libya has the ninth largest proven oil reserves in the world. Structural deficiencies, however, still weigh on sustainable growth. In order to diversify the economy, the renewable energies sector is being expanded, which is institutionally reflected by the creation of the Libyan Council for Oil, Gas, and Renewable Energy (LCOGRE) in late 2020. Attractive areas of investment exist in this area as well as in the area of water and wastewater technology to secure the drinking water demand in the densely populated coastal regions and to protect against pollution of the sea and groundwater.