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Libya :: Africa



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. In the the 7th century, Islam spread through the region; in the mid-16th century, Ottoman rule began. The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911 and did not relinquish their hold until 1943 when they were defeated in World War II. Libya then passed to UN administration and achieved independence in 1951. Following a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar al-QADHAFI assumed leadership and began to espouse his political system at home, which was a combination of 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, another in Northern Africa - and a discotheque bombing in Berlin. UN sanctions in 1992 isolated QADHAFI politically and economically following the attacks; sanctions were lifted in 2003 following Libyan acceptance of responsibility for the bombings and agreement 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 late 2010 erupted in Libyan cities in early 2011. QADHAFI's brutal crackdown on protesters spawned a civil war that triggered UN authorization of air and naval intervention by the international community. After months of seesaw fighting between government and opposition forces, the QADHAFI regime was toppled in mid-2011 and replaced by a transitional government known as the National Transitional Council (NTC). In 2012, the NTC handed power to an elected parliament, the General National Congress (GNC). Voters chose a new parliament to replace the GNC in June 2014 - the House of Representatives (HoR), which relocated to the eastern city of Tobruk after fighting broke out in Tripoli and Benghazi in July 2014. ++ In December 2015, the UN brokered an agreement among a broad array of Libyan political parties and social groups - known as the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). Members of the Libyan Political Dialogue, including representatives of the HoR and GNC, signed the LPA in December 2015. The LPA called for the formation of an interim Government of National Accord or GNA, with a nine-member Presidency Council, the HoR, and an advisory High Council of State that most ex-GNC members joined. The LPA's roadmap for a transition to a new constitution and elected government was subsequently endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2259, which also called upon member states to cease official contact with parallel institutions. In January 2016, the HoR voted to approve the LPA, including the Presidency Council, while voting against a controversial provision on security leadership positions and the Presidency Council's proposed cabinet of ministers. In March 2016, the GNA Presidency Council seated itself in Tripoli. In 2016, the GNA twice announced a slate of ministers who operate in an acting capacity, but the HoR did not endorse the ministerial list. The HoR and defunct-GNC-affiliated political hardliners continued to oppose the GNA and hamper the LPA's implementation. In September 2017, UN Special Representative Ghassan SALAME announced a new roadmap for national political reconciliation. SALAME's plan called for amendments to the LPA, a national conference of Libyan leaders, and a constitutional referendum and general elections. In November 2018, the international partners supported SALAME's recalibrated Action Plan for Libya that aimed to break the political deadlock by holding a National Conference in Libya in 2019 on a timeline for political transition. The National Conference was delayed following a failure of the parties to implement an agreement mediated by SALAME in Abu Dhabi on February 27, and the subsequent military action by Khalifa HAFTAR's Libyan National Army against GNA forces in Tripoli that began in April 2019.



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

Geographic coordinates:

25 00 N, 17 00 E

Map references:



total: 1,759,540 sq km
land: 1,759,540 sq km
water: 0 sq km
country comparison to the world: 18

Area - comparative:

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

Land boundaries:

total: 4,339 km
border countries (6): Algeria 989 km, Chad 1050 km, Egypt 1115 km, Niger 342 km, Sudan 382 km, Tunisia 461 km


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


Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior


mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions


mean elevation: 423 m
lowest point: Sabkhat Ghuzayyil -47 m
highest point: Bikku Bitti 2,267 m

Natural resources:

petroleum, natural gas, gypsum

Land use:

agricultural land: 8.8% (2011 est.)
arable land: 1% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.2% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 7.6% (2011 est.)
forest: 0.1% (2011 est.)
other: 91.1% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:

4,700 sq km (2012)

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

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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

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


6,890,535 (July 2020 est.)
note: immigrants make up just over 12% of the total population, according to UN data (2017)
country comparison to the world: 107


noun: Libyan(s)
adjective: Libyan

Ethnic groups:

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


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


Muslim (official; virtually all Sunni) 96.6%, Christian 2.7%, Buddhist 0.3%, Hindu <0.1, Jewish <0.1, folk religion <0.1, unafilliated 0.2%, other <0.1 (2010 est.)
note: non-Sunni Muslims include native Ibadhi Muslims (<1% of the population) and foreign Muslims

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, more than 200,000 people were displaced internally as of August 2017 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: 33.65% (male 1,184,755/female 1,134,084)
15-24 years: 15.21% (male 534,245/female 513,728)
25-54 years: 41.57% (male 1,491,461/female 1,373,086)
55-64 years: 5.52% (male 186,913/female 193,560)
65 years and over: 4.04% (male 129,177/female 149,526) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 47.7
youth dependency ratio: 41
elderly dependency ratio: 6.7
potential support ratio: 15 (2020 est.)

Median age:

total: 25.8 years
male: 25.9 years
female: 25.7 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156

Population growth rate:

1.94% (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49

Birth rate:

23 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58

Death rate:

3.5 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 218

Net migration rate:

-0.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131

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


urban population: 80.7% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 1.68% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

1.165 million TRIPOLI (capital), 881,000 Misratah, 824,000 Benghazi (2020)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:

72 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81

Infant mortality rate:

total: 11.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 76.7 years
male: 74.4 years
female: 79.1 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90

Total fertility rate:

3.17 children born/woman (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47

Contraceptive prevalence rate:

27.7% (2014)

Drinking water source:

improved: total: 98.5% of population
unimproved: total: 1.5% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density:

2.09 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density:

3.2 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access:

improved: total: 100% of population
unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.2% (2019)
country comparison to the world: 103

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

9,500 (2019)
country comparison to the world: 106

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

<500 (2019)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

32.5% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 16

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

11.7% (2014)
country comparison to the world: 56

Education expenditures:



definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 96.7%
female: 85.6% (2015)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:

total: 48.7%
male: 40.8%
female: 67.8% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4


Country name:

conventional long form: State of Libya
conventional short form: Libya
local long form: Dawiat 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


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


24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship)

National holiday:

Liberation Day, 23 October (2011)


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 ICC


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


18 years of age, universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: Chairman, Presidential Council, Fayiz al-SARAJ (since December 2015)
head of government: Prime Minister Fayiz al-SARAJ (since December 2015)
cabinet: GNA Presidency Council (pending approval by the House of Representatives - as of December 2018)
elections/appointments: direct presidential election to be held pending election-related legislation and constitutional referendum law
election results: NA

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 Council of State serves as an advisory group for the HoR
elections: last held on 25 June 2014 ( parliamentary election to be held pending election-related legislation); note - the Libyan Supreme Court in November 2014 declared the HoR election unconstitutional, but the HoR and the international community rejected the ruling
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 158, women 30, percent of women 16%; 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 HoR also boycotted the election

Judicial branch:

NA; note - government is in transition

Political parties and leaders:

NA ++

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Wafa M.T. BUGHAIGHIS (since 29 November 2017)
chancery: 1460 Dahlia Street NW, Washington, DC
telephone: [1] (202) 944-9601
FAX: [1] (202) 944-9606

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Richard B. NORLAND (since 22 August 2019)
telephone: [218] (0) 91-220-3239
embassy: Sidi Slim Area/Walie Al-Ahed Road, Tripoli (temporarily closed); please direct inquiries regarding US citizens in Libya to
mailing address: US Embassy, 8850 Tripoli Place, Washington, DC 20521-8850
note: the US Embassy in Tripoli closed in July 2014 due to fighting near the embassy related to Libyan civil unrest; embassy staff and operations temporarily first relocated to Valetta, Malta and currently are temporarily relocated to 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


Economic overview:

Libya's economy, almost entirely dependent on oil and gas exports, has struggled since 2014 given security and political instability, disruptions in oil production, and decline in global oil prices. The Libyan dinar has lost much of its value since 2014 and the resulting gap between official and black market exchange rates has spurred the growth of a shadow economy and contributed to inflation. The country suffers from widespread power outages, caused by shortages of fuel for power generation. Living conditions, including access to clean drinking water, medical services, and safe housing have all declined since 2011. Oil production in 2017 reached a five-year high, driving GDP growth, with daily average production rising to 879,000 barrels per day. However, oil production levels remain below the average pre-Revolution highs of 1.6 million barrels per day. ++ The Central Bank of Libya continued to pay government salaries to a majority of the Libyan workforce and to fund subsidies for fuel and food, resulting in an estimated budget deficit of about 17% of GDP in 2017. Low consumer confidence in the banking sector and the economy as a whole has driven a severe liquidity shortage.

GDP real growth rate:

64% (2017 est.)
-7.4% (2016 est.)
-13% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

28.5% (2017 est.)
25.9% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 223

GDP (purchasing power parity) - real:

$136.402 billion (2019 est.)
$133.028 billion (2018 est.)
$115.544 billion (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$52.259 billion (2019 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$8,141 (2019 est.)
$8,057 (2018 est.)
$7,102 (2017 est.)
note: data are in 2010 dollars
country comparison to the world: 126

Gross national saving:

5% of GDP (2017 est.)
-9% of GDP (2016 est.)
-25.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 1.3% (2017 est.)
industry: 52.3% (2017 est.)
services: 46.4% (2017 est.)

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.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores:

73.1 (2020)

Agriculture - products:

wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle


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

Industrial production growth rate:

60.3% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1

Labor force:

1.114 million (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 17%
industry: 23%
services: 59% (2004 est.)

Unemployment rate:

30% (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207

Population below poverty line:

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

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA


revenues: 15.78 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 23.46 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

51.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-25.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 219

Public debt:

4.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
7.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Current account balance:

$2.574 billion (2017 est.)
-$4.575 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36


$18.38 billion (2017 est.)
$11.99 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80

Exports - partners:

Italy 19%, Spain 12.5%, France 11%, Egypt 8.6%, Germany 8.6%, China 8.3%, US 4.9%, UK 4.6%, Netherlands 4.5% (2017)

Exports - commodities:

crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, chemicals


$11.36 billion (2017 est.)
$8.667 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101

Imports - commodities:

machinery, semi-finished goods, food, transport equipment, consumer products

Imports - partners:

China 13.5%, Turkey 11.3%, Italy 6.9%, South Korea 5.9%, Spain 4.8% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$74.71 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$66.05 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31

Debt - external:

$3.02 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.116 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143

Exchange rates:

Libyan dinars (LYD) per US dollar -
1.413 (2017 est.)
1.3904 (2016 est.)
1.3904 (2015 est.)
1.379 (2014 est.)
1.2724 (2013 est.)


Electricity access:

electrification - total population: 100% (2019)

Electricity - production:

34.24 billion kWh (2016 est.)
note: persistent electricity shortages have contributed to the ongoing instability throughout the country
country comparison to the world: 61

Electricity - consumption:

27.3 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160

Electricity - imports:

376 million kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

9.46 million kW (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

100% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199

Crude oil - production:

1.039 million bbl/day (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19

Crude oil - exports:

337,800 bbl/day (2015 est.)
note: Libyan crude oil export values are highly volatile because of continuing protests and other disruptions across the country
country comparison to the world: 23

Crude oil - imports:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154

Crude oil - proved reserves:

48.36 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9

Refined petroleum products - production:

89,620 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

260,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49

Refined petroleum products - exports:

16,880 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71

Refined petroleum products - imports:

168,200 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36

Natural gas - production:

9.089 billion cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43

Natural gas - consumption:

4.446 billion cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64

Natural gas - exports:

4.644 billion cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150

Natural gas - proved reserves:

1.505 trillion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

46.48 million Mt (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62


Telephones - fixed lines:

total subscriptions: 1,618,511
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 23.95 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62

Telephones - mobile cellular:

total subscriptions: 6,182,105
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 91.48 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111

Telecommunication systems:

general assessment: political and security instability in Libya has disrupted its telecommunications sector, but much of its infrastructure remains superior to that in most other African countries; registering a SIM card now requires proof of ID; govt. established new independent regulatory authority; LTE-based fixed broadband network launched; highest market penetration rates in Africa; growth opportunity in broadband sector (2020)
domestic: 24 per 100 fixed-line and 91 per 100 mobile-cellular subscriptions; service generally adequate (2019)
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)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

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 country code:


Internet users:

total: 1,440,859
percent of population: 21.76% (July 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131

Broadband - fixed subscriptions:

total: 168,920
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113


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)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:

5A (2016)


146 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 39

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 68 (2017)
over 3,047 m: 23 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 30 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2017)
under 914 m: 1 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 78 (2013)
over 3,047 m: 2 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 37 (2013)
under 914 m: 20 (2013)


2 (2013)


882 km condensate, 3743 km gas, 7005 km oil (2013)


total: 37,000 km (2010)
paved: 34,000 km (2010)
unpaved: 3,000 km (2010)
country comparison to the world: 92

Merchant marine:

total: 94
by type: general cargo 2, oil tanker 12, other 80 (2019)
country comparison to the world: 94

Ports and terminals:

major seaport(s): Marsa al Burayqah (Marsa el Brega), Tripoli
oil terminal(s): Az Zawiyah, Ra's Lanuf
LNG terminal(s) (export): Marsa el Brega

Military and Security

Military and security forces:

note - in transition; the Government of National Accord (GNA) has various ground, air, naval, and coast guard forces under its command; the forces are comprised of a mix of semi-regular military units, tribal militias, civilian volunteers, and foreign troops and mercenaries ++ forces under Khalifa HAFTER, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), also include various ground, air, and naval units comprised of semi-regular military personnel, tribal militias, and foreign troops and mercenaries (2019)

Military and security service personnel strengths:

the sizes of the forces of both the Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army are unknown (2020 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions:

both the forces of the Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army are largely equipped with weapons of Russian or Soviet origin (2020)

Military - note:

as of the Fall of 2020, there were at least 10,000 foreign mercenaries and proxy forces estimated to be deployed in Libya to bolster both GNA- and LNA-aligned forces (2020)


Terrorist group(s):

Ansar al-Sharia groups; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham – Libya; al-Mulathamun Battalion (al-Mourabitoun); al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (2019)
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

Disputes - international:

dormant disputes include Libyan claims of about 32,000 sq km still reflected on its maps of southeastern Algeria and the FLN's assertions of a claim to Chirac Pastures in southeastern Morocco; various Chadian rebels from the Aozou region reside in southern Libya

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 16,820 (Syria) (refugees and asylum seekers), 12,220 (Sudan) (refugees and asylum seekers), 5,899 (Eritrea) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2019)
IDPs: 392,241 (conflict between pro-QADHAFI and anti-QADHAFI forces in 2011; post-QADHAFI tribal clashes 2014) (2020)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Libya is a destination and transit country for men and women from Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution; migrants who seek employment in Libya as laborers and domestic workers or who transit Libya en route to Europe are vulnerable to forced labor; private employers also exploit migrants from detention centers as forced laborers on farms and construction sites, returning them to detention when they are no longer needed; some Sub-Saharan women are reportedly forced to work in Libyan brothels, particularly in the country's south; since 2013, militia groups and other informal armed groups, including some affiliated with the government, are reported to conscript Libyan children under the age of 18; large-scale violence driven by militias, civil unrest, and increased lawlessness increased in 2014, making it more difficult to obtain information on human trafficking
tier rating: Tier 3 - the Libyan Government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, the government's capacity to address human trafficking was hampered by the ongoing power struggle and violence; the judicial system was not functioning, preventing any efforts to investigate, prosecute, or convict traffickers, complicit detention camp guards or government officials, or militias or armed groups that used child soldiers; the government failed to identify or provide protection to trafficking victims, including child conscripts, and continued to punish victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; no public anti-trafficking awareness campaigns were conducted (2015)