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The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911 and did not relinquish their hold until 1943 when defeated in World War II. Libya then passed to UN administration and achieved independence in 1951. Following a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI began to espouse his own political system, the Third Universal Theory. The system was a combination of socialism and Islam derived in part from tribal practices and was supposed to be implemented by the Libyan people themselves in a unique form of "direct democracy." QADHAFI used oil funds during the 1970s and 1980s to promote his ideology outside Libya, supporting subversives and terrorists abroad to hasten the end of Marxism and capitalism. In addition, beginning in 1973, he engaged in military operations in northern... See More



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

Geographic Coordinates:

 25 00 N, 17 00 E


 Total: 1,759,540 sq km
Land: 1,759,540 sq km
Water: 0 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly larger than Alaska

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 4,348 km
Border countries: Algeria 982 km, Chad 1,055 km, Egypt 1,115 km, Niger 354 km, Sudan 383 km, Tunisia 459 km


 1,770 km (Rank: 64)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 12 nm

Note: Gulf of Sidra closing line - 32 degrees, 30 minutes north
Exclusive fishing zone: 62 nm


 Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior


 Mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Sabkhat Ghuzayyil -47 m
Highest point: Bikku Bitti 2,267 m

Natural Resources:

 Petroleum, natural gas, gypsum

Land Use:

 Arable land: 1.03%
Permanent crops: 0.19%
Other: 98.78% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 4,700 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 0.6 cu km (1997)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 4.27 cu km/yr (14%/3%/83%)
Per capita: 730 cu m/yr (2000)

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

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:

 More than 90% of the country is desert or semidesert

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 Noun: Libyan(s)
Adjective: Libyan

Ethnic Groups:

 Berber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians)


 Arabic (official), Italian, English

Note: all are widely understood in the major cities


 Sunni Muslim (official) 97%, other 3%


 6,597,960 (July 2011 est.)

Note: includes 166,510 non-nationals

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 32.8% (male 1,104,590/female 1,057,359)
15-64 years: 62.7% (male 2,124,053/female 2,011,226)
65 years and over: 4.6% (male 146,956/female 153,776) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 24.5 years
Male: 24.5 years
Female: 24.4 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 2.064% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 24.04 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 3.4 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 78% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 TRIPOLI (capital) 1.095 million (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 64 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 20.09 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 22.06 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 18.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 77.65 years
Male: 75.34 years
Female: 80.08 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 2.96 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 6.6% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 1.9 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital Bed Density:

 3.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 54% of population
Rural: 55% of population
Total: 54% of population
Urban: 46% of population
Rural: 45% of population
Total: 46% of population (2000)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 97% of population
Rural: 96% of population
Total: 97% of population
Urban: 3% of population
Rural: 4% of population
Total: 3% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 0.3% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 10,000 (2001 est.)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 5.6% (2007)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 82.6%
Male: 92.4%
Female: 72% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 17 years
Male: 16 years
Female: 17 years (2003)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: Libya
Local long form: none
Local short form: Libiya

Government Type:

 Operates under a transitional government


 Name: Tripoli (Tarabulus)
Geographic coordinates: 32 53 N, 13 10 E
Time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

 22 districts (shabiyat, singular - shabiyat); 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, Darnah, Ghat, Misratah, Murzuq, Nalut, Sabha, Surt, Tarabulus, Wadi al Hayat, Wadi ash Shati


 24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship)

National Holiday:

 Revolution Day, 1 September (1969)


 Note - following the September 1969 military overthrow of the Libyan government, the Revolutionary Command Council replaced the existing constitution with the Constitutional Proclamation in December 1969; in March 1977, Libya adopted the Declaration of the Establishment of the People's Authority; note - the Transitional National Council, recognized by the UN in Septermber 2011 as the legitimate interim government, operates under a temporary constitution

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Executive Branch:

 Note: the UN in September 2011 recognized the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) as the legitimate governing authority for Libya until an interim government is in place; the TNC on 22 November 2011 established a new transitional government

Chief of state: Transitional National Council Chairman Mustafa Abd al-JALIL (since March 2011)

Head of government: Transitional National Council Prime Minister Abd al-Rahim al-KEEB (since 23 October 2011)

Cabinet: a new cabinet was formed by the prime minister in November 2011

Elections: TNC Chairman al-JALIL in August 2011 announced transitional national assembly elections to be held in June 2012

Election results: NA

Legislative Branch:

 The UN in September 2011 recognized the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) as the legitimate governing authority for Libya

Elections: TNC Chairman al-JALIL in August 2011 announced transitional national assembly elections to be held in June 2012

Election results: NA

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Ali Suleiman AUJALI
Chancery: 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 705, Washington, DC 20037
Telephone: [1] (202) 944-9601
FAX: [1] (202) 944-9060

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Gene A. CRETZ
Embassy: off Jaraba Street, behind the Libyan-Swiss clinic, Ben Ashour
Mailing address: US Embassy, 8850 Tripoli Place, Washington, DC 20521-8850
Telephone: [218] 91-220-3239

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 Symbols:

 Star and crescent; hawk

National Anthem:

 Name: "Allahu Akbar" (God Is Greatest)
Lyrics/music: Mahmoud el-SHERIF/Abdalla Shams el-DIN

Note: adopted 1969; the anthem was originally a battle song for the Egyptian Army in the 1956 Suez War

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Economy - Overview:

 The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contribute about 95% of export earnings, 25% of GDP, and 80% of government revenue. The weakness in world hydrocarbon prices in 2009 reduced Libyan government tax income and constrained economic growth. Substantial revenues from the energy sector coupled with a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, but little of this income flows down to the lower orders of society. Libyan officials in the past five years have made progress on economic reforms as part of a broader campaign to reintegrate the country into the international fold. This effort picked up steam after UN sanctions were lifted in September 2003 and as Libya announced in December 2003 that it would abandon programs to build weapons of mass destruction. The process of lifting US unilateral sanctions began in the spring of 2004; all sanctions were removed by June 2006, helping Libya attract greater foreign direct investment, especially in the energy sector. Libyan oil and gas licensing rounds continue to draw high international interest; the National Oil Corporation (NOC) set a goal of nearly doubling oil production to 3 million bbl/day by 2012. In November 2009, the NOC announced that that target may slip to as late as 2017. Libya faces a long road ahead in liberalizing the socialist-oriented economy, but initial steps - including applying for WTO membership, reducing some subsidies, and announcing plans for privatization - are laying the groundwork for a transition to a more market-based economy. The non-oil manufacturing and construction sectors, which account for more than 20% of GDP, have expanded from processing mostly agricultural products to include the production of petrochemicals, iron, steel, and aluminum. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit agricultural output, and Libya imports about 75% of its food. Libya's primary agricultural water source remains the Great Manmade River Project, but significant resources are being invested in desalinization research to meet growing water demands.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $90.57 billion (2010 est.)
$86.95 billion (2009 est.)
$89.01 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $74.23 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 4.2% (2010 est.)
-2.3% (2009 est.)
2.3% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $14,000 (2010 est.)
$13,700 (2009 est.)
$14,400 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 2.7%
Industry: 66.7%
Services: 30.5% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 1.728 million (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 17%
Industry: 23%
Services: 59% (2004 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

 30% (2004 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line:


Note: About one-third of Libyans live at or below the national poverty line

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 8,000 (Palestinian Territories) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 13.8% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $42.04 billion
Expenditures: $38.75 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 56.6% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 4.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 3.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
3.9% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 2.5% (2010 est.)
2.4% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 9.52% (31 December 2010 est.)
3% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 6% (31 December 2010 est.)
6% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $26.66 billion (31 December 2008)
$18.04 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $4.264 billion (31 December 2008)
$3.192 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $31.95 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$30.34 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $35.96 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$36.82 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $45.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$41.83 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

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:

 2.7% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 26.95 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 100%
Hydro: 0%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 22.89 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 117 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 48 million kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - Production:

 1.789 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 289,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 1.385 million bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 575 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 46.42 billion bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 15.9 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 6.01 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 9.89 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 1.548 trillion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 $16.16 billion (2010 est.)
$9.381 billion (2009 est.)


 $41.8 billion (2010 est.)
$37.06 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, chemicals

Exports - Partners:

 Italy 31.6%, France 13%, China 9.2%, Spain 9.1%, Germany 8.4%, US 4.5% (2010)


 $24.73 billion (2010 est.)
$22 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

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

Imports - Partners:

 Italy 16.3%, China 10.3%, Turkey 9.7%, France 6.8%, Germany 6.4%, South Korea 6.2%, Egypt 5.7%, Tunisia 4.8% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $99.84 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$98.92 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $6.396 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$5.884 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - Abroad:

 $15.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$13.92 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - At Home:

 $19.39 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$15.56 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Libyan Dinar to Any Currency

Libyan dinars (LYD) per US dollar -
1.2648 (2010)
1.2535 (2009)
1.2112 (2008)
1.2604 (2007)
1.3108 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 1.228 million (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 10.9 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: telecommunications system is state-owned and service is poor, but investment is being made to upgrade; state retains monopoly in fixed-line services; mobile-cellular telephone system became operational in 1996

Domestic: multiple providers for a mobile telephone system that is growing rapidly; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is approaching 100 telephones per 100 persons

International: country code - 218; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat, NA Arabsat, and NA Intersputnik; submarine cable to France and Italy; microwave radio relay to Tunisia and Egypt; tropospheric scatter to Greece; participant in Medarabtel (2009)

Broadcast Media:

 State controls broadcast media; state-owned terrestrial TV station and about a half-dozen state-owned satellite stations broadcast; some provinces operate local TV stations; a single, non-state-owned TV station launched in 2007; pan-Arab satellite TV stations are available; state-owned radio broadcasts on a number of frequencies, some of which carry regional programming; Voice of Africa, Libya's external radio service, can also be heard; a single, non-state-owned radio station broadcasting (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 16, FM 3, shortwave 3 (2001)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 12 (plus 1 repeater) (1999)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 12,432 (2010)

Internet Users:

 353,900 (2009)

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 137 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 59
Over 3,047 m: 24
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 6
Under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 78
Over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 42
Under 914 m: 17 (2010)


 2 (2010)


 Condensate 776 km; gas 3,216 km; oil 6,960 km (2010)


 Total: 100,024 km
Paved: 57,214 km
Unpaved: 42,810 km (2003)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 27
By type: cargo 5, chemical tanker 4, liquefied gas 3, petroleum tanker 13, roll on/roll off 2
Foreign-owned: 5 (Kuwait 1, Norway 1, Syria 2, UK 1)
Registered in other countries: 5 (Hong Kong 1, Malta 4) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Az Zawiyah, Marsa al Burayqah (Marsa el Brega), Ra's Lanuf, Tripoli

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Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 1,775,078
Females age 16-49: 1,714,194 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 1,511,144
Females age 16-49: 1,458,934 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 59,547
Female: 57,070 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 3.9% of GDP (2005 est.)

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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

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: Libya is a transit and destination country for men and women from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation; Libya has experienced internal unrest, stranding many foreign workers in the country under harsh and unsafe conditions

Tier rating: Tier 3 - the Libyan Government failed to demonstrate significant efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses or to protect trafficking victims; the government's policies and practices with respect to undocumented migrant workers resulted in Libyan authorities also punishing trafficking victims for unlawful acts that were committed as a result of their being trafficked; following the outbreak of civil unrest in February 2011, accurate information regarding the situation in Libya has become very limited (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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