Official name: Libya

Etymology: « Libya » is the name given by the Italians to their possessions in North Africa when they united their administration of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica in 1934. This name comes from « Lebu », a term used by the Egyptians of the Ancient Empire (2750-2200 BC) to indicate the Berber tribes entering the Nyle delta from Cyrenaica.

Capital: Tripoli

Area: 1.759.540 km2

Comparison to a European Country: a bit more then three times the area of France

Population (2012) : 6’733’620

Density (2012): 3,8 habitants/km²

Youth (less then 15 years) (2011): 32,8%

Annual population growth rate (2011): 2,064 %

Fertility Index (2011):  2,96%

Life expectancy (2011): 77,65 – Hommes: 75,34; Femmes: 80,08

Infant mortality (2011):  20,09 %

Urban population(2010) : 78 %

Illiteracy Rates(2003): hommes 7,6% ; femmes 28%

Religions: 97 % Sunni Muslims, others: 3%

Ethnic groups: 97 % Berber and Arabs

Official language : arabic – Others : English, Italian, Berber dialects (awjilah, ghadamis, nafusi, suknah, tamasheq)

HDI (Human Development Index, 2010): 0,760 (average HDI level). Lybia is in ranked in 64th position on 177 countries.

Currency: 1,62 lybian dinar = 1 €uro on 11.01.12

Total GDP(2011) : $ 36’870’000’000

GDP per capita (2010): 14 000 $

Annual growth: (2010): 4,2%

Unemployment rate (2004): 30%

Inflation rate(2011) : 6,1%

Labor force by sector of activity (2004): agriculture 17 %; manufacturing 23 %; services 59 %

Export (2010): 418 billions de $

Import (2005): 2473 billions de $

Leading trade partners (2011): Export: Italy 21,5%, Germany 13,5%, France 13,4%, China 10,1%, Spain 4,9%, Tunisia 4,6%, India 4,3% – Import: Egypt 15,5%, Tunisia 11,9%, Turkey 8,1%, China 7,8%, Italy 7,5%, Syria 4,6%, France 4,4%, Germany 4,3%

Main agricultural products: wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus fruits, peanuts, soja

Main export products: crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, chemical products

Main import products: machinery, semi-finished products, food, transportation material, consumer products

Total external debt (2010): 6396 billions of $

Independence day: 24 December 1951

United Nations admission: 1955

Member of the: Arab Maghreb Union (AMU)

State nature: unitairy, officially «State of the masses» since March 1977

Regime nature: In transition

Government form: transition government

Head of State: Mustafa Abd al-Jalil

Prime Minister: Abd al-Rahim al-Keeb

Main political parties: National Forces Alliance, National Centrist Party, Justice and Construction Party, National Front for the Salvation of Libya, Union for Homeland

Military Data:National Army(2010) : 116’000 – Military expenses in GDP percentage (2005) : 3,9%

Territorial Disputes: In the past Libya has claimed 19.400 km2 of the Nigerian territory and a part of South-East Algeria. These two disputes are suspended at the moment.

Some particularities:

The Libyan oil is not only very close to the European market, but it is also of excellent quality and its extraction is quite cheap (1$ per barrel in some areas)

Following the accusations of the american and british governments, assessing that Libya might have been involved in the destruction of a PanAm Boeing above the scottish village of Lockerbie in 1988, an international embargo was imposed on this country by the United Nations Security Council from April 15 1992 with the aim of obtaining the extradition of the two libyan suspects (Res. 731 of the Security Council, January 21, 1992). The embargo was suspended on April 5 1999.

After the suspension of the embargo and the re-establishement of diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom, Libya considered to implement the process of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership launched in 1995 in Barcelona. At the moment it is not part of the agreement. More recently, the Libyan President has strongly rejected the Union for the Mediterranean project launched by Nicolas Sarkozy on July 13 2008.

Recent Events

The « Arab Spring » uprisings, started in the Countries of the Middle East and of Maghreb at the end of 2010, have been spreading in the Libyan cities by early 2011. In March 2011, a National Transitional Council (NTC) was formed in Benghazi with the declared aim to topple Khadafi’s regime and to bring democracy to the Country. In response to the cruel military repression over the demonstrators, the Security Council of the UN adopted Resolution 1973 demanding an immediate cease-fire and authorized the international community to establish a no-fly zone on Lybian airspace. After a few months of fighting, the anti-Khadafi forces conquered Tripoli, the Libyan capital, in August 2011. In September, the General Assembly has voted to recognize the NTC as the legitimate leading administrative body ad interim. On October 23 the NTC has officially declared that the Country, after the defeat of the remaining pro-Khadafi force and Khadafi’s death, has given way to the transition plan to the elections, the formation of a constitution and of a new government.

Sources: CIA World Factbook 2011, Arab Human Development Report 2009 (PNUD), l’Etat du Monde (2010)