The newly-formed Libyan-Qatari Holding Company (LQC) has bought land in a number of Libyan towns and cities to build housing projects aimed at the younger Libyan market.
According to the company’s director-general, Wahid Barshan, the company “will start to build during the coming few days, units for the Libyan youths, particularly those with low wages as a first phase. We also plan to invest in regional hospitals and medical centers in smaller towns.”
The company, with $100 million capital, was formed in February by Qatari busineesman Ghanim Bin Saad and a number of Libyan businessmen. The latter have a 40-percent share.
Speaking in Tripoli last week, Barshan has said there would be 11 subsidiaries in the new company. These would focus on construction and reconstruction projects, food industries, petrochemical industries, telecommunications, health, education, hotels and tourism, and oil services. It plans to partner with international companies in the various sectors.
Without specifying the number of projects or costs, Barshan said that the company’s priorities were “to help address the economic and housing needs of Libya, in addition to supporting the economical and political development in the country.” He believed that it would also provide ample job opportunities for young Libyans.
The new company is also looking opportunities beyond Libya but which relate to its development.
Earlier this month, a number of LQC officials were in the Tunisian town of Medenine, just across the Libyan border, to examine investment opportunities there. According to LQC’s Ghazi Moalla, the company is looking at setting up plants in the area to produce building materials for use in the construction of 10,000 houses in Libya.
The area is rich in clay, gypsum and sand.
He also said that LQC was looking at developing a logistics hub at Ben Guerdane, some 30 kilometres west of the Libyan-Tunisian border. This would include a project to develop the nearby Tunisian port of Zarzis and the setting up of a shipping line connecting it to European ports.
He added that the company was also looking at tourist projects in Djerba and Zarzis.
Tripoli-- Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) approved the long awaited for 2012 budget on Sunday 11 March 2012.
The total amount of the budget is LD68,525,604,750.00.
The NTC spokesman Mohammed al-Harizi told the Libyan news agency said the NTC’s approval of the budget included recommendations directed to the government related the spending procedures and financial oversight.
He said the NTC is to announce full details of the budget today.
The approval of this year’s budget will start the huge rebuilding process in Libya and launch what is expected to be a feverish business and economic activities in the country.
On Saturday the chairman of the NTC Mustafa Abdul Jalil said the approval of the budget would indicates that the NTC is quiet supportive of the interim government of Mr. Abdurrahim El-Keeb and to enable it to meet the demands and expectations of the people.
Croatian construction company Viadukt says that the Libyan government has reconfirmed a LD 210 million ($167 million) contract it won in 2008 to build a 320-kilometre road between Nalut and Ghadames. It says that the go-ahead was given following the government's approval of this year's record LD 68.5b the budget.
Work on the road, agreed in 2008, stopped during the revolution last year.
According to the company, the preparatory work that needs to be done before construction starts has commenced.
Washington D. C.-- On Wednesday, President Obama welcomed the Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim ElKeib to the White House, kicking off three days of meetings for the Libyan leader in New York and Washington with US officials, members of Congress, and business and policy leaders.
Dr. ElKeib was the first Libyan prime minister to visit the White House in nearly 60 years, indicating a new era of friendship between the United States and Libya, said a statement by the White House.
During Wednesday’s meeting President Obama applauded Dr. ElKeib’s leadership and encouraged his government to make continued progress with the country’s democratic transition.
The American President pledged the support of the United States to the people of Libya as they work to hold the country’s first free and fair national elections later this summer.
Mr. Obama encouraged Prime Minister ElKeib to take full advantage of American and international expertise as the Libyan people address the challenges of the days ahead.
Given the President’s leadership mobilizing the international community last year to protect the Libyan people, it was particularly moving to see how warmly the Libyans greeted President Obama and their eagerness to forge a close partnership with the United States after so many years of limited contacts.
At the State Department PM ElKeib said before his meeting with President Obama “in the past year, the dynamics between the US and Libya has been dramatically transformed for the better. We look forward to the continued strengthening of this relationship as Libya moves forward with its democratic transition and rebuilding its economy.”
The top United Nations envoy to Libya has expressed confidence that just over four months after since the end of the eight-month long conflict, the country will be able to overcome current difficulties and pursue the path towards the goals it committed itself to when the popular uprising began a year ago.
"It is clear that the Libyan people are eager to move forward with the transition to democracy, and their most central expectation of the United Nations is that we will support them in doing so," Ian Martin, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, UNSMIL, told the Security Council.
Speaking via videoconference from the capital, Tripoli, Mr. Martin noted that the country has begun implementing the framework for staging the first free elections in Libya in four decades. It adopted the electoral administration law as well as the main electoral law, and appointed the High National Electoral Commission.
The main electoral law provides for a mixed parallel electoral system, with 120 seats to be elected by majoritarian races reserved for individual candidates, and 80 seats to be elected by proportional races reserved for lists to be submitted by political or other groups.
He said: "Like all electoral frameworks, this parallel system is a compromise among competing views and interests, but our judgment is that the law provides a reasonable foundation for the election of the National Congress, although some gaps and shortcomings remain.”
Members of the National Congress, due to be elected by late June, will be tasked with drafting a new constitution for Libya, after a four-decades plus dictatorial rule until last year's uprising led to his ousting and h e3nd of his regime.
Crucial to the successful conduct of elections is a "positive evolution" of the security situation, stated Mr. Martin. "The Libyan authorities well recognise that their foremost challenge is to address the future of the revolutionary fighters and the wide circulation of weapons, and to develop professional state security institutions under civilian control."
He added that the new government headed by prime minister Abdurrahim El-Keeb, that has been in place now for three months, faces "tremendous challenges and a heavy legacy from the former regime" as it tries to tackle illegal migration and smuggling, effective border control, proliferation of weapons, and the need to reverse policies of long-standing discrimination against minority communities and foster national reconciliation among tribes.
This was tragically highlighted in recent days by deadly clashes that erupted between the Tabou and the Zawiyaha tribal brigades in the southern city of Kufra over a two-week period, that claimed the lives of tens of people and left many others seriously injured.
He said that the issue of torture and ill-treatment of detainees also needs to be tackled. He noted that further information in this regard, including on deaths in custody, have come to light over the past month through non-governmental organisations, NGOs, and UNSMIL's own visits to places of detention.
In a speech to the UN Human Rights Council on Februay 28, Mr. El-Keeb reiterated his Government's human rights commitment and cooperation with the UN and others on this issue. "Strong and urgent measures are essential to give effect to these intentions," Mr. Martin said.
Libya's court system, he reported, is slowly coming back into operation, with several courts in Tripoli and Benghazi resuming operations, despite some concerns about security of judges and lawyers.
In addition, the transitional justice law was made public on February 14. It establishes a fact-finding and reconciliation commission mandated to investigate crimes and human rights violations since 1969.
"While the law does not necessarily reflect best practices elsewhere, it provides an important opportunity to start a comprehensive truth-seeking process in Libya," Mr Martin said.
In a congratulatory statement on behalf of his country on the first anniversary of Libya's February 17 pro-democracy uprising,Canada's foreign affairs minister John Baird said Libya has a partner in Canada, as the country continues to make strides to provide greater opportunities for its people.
He went on to say: “In just one year, the Libyan people have realised a dramatic transformation in their country. Although there is much work to be done, Libyans have laid the foundation to build a more inclusive, open and democratic society.”
“The upcoming elections, expected in June, will provide a historic opportunity to continue that work. The courage and sacrifice of the Libyan people secured a better and brighter future for themselves and their fellow citizens. They turned the page on a brutal, repressive dictator who ruled their country and tormented the Libyan people for over 40 years,” Mr Baird added:
“Canada is proud to have played a leading role in the UN-sanctioned NATO mission that helped protect civilians during the liberation of Libya,” Mr Baird said.
Libya Friday began celebrating the first anniversary of the uprising that eventually ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi from power after 42 years of an iron-fist rule, with fireworks, thousands of Libyan citizens in different cities chanting slogans and waving the flag that has become a symbol of the country’s new freedom.
Most of the celebrations is centred on the eastern city of Benghazi, the birthplace of the February 17 Revolution, and though the country is still far from stable four months after the liberation from the clutches of the former brutal regime
Weeks after the first spark of the revolution, backed by NATO, the then rebels managed to topple Gaddafi and the country is now trying to rebuild and use to the full the new-found freedom.
Fresh check-points in the capital Tripoli, Benghazi, the eastern birthplace of the uprising, the western port city of Misurata and other towns to deter any Gaddafi loyalists still in circulation from distorting the celebrations.
Libya's new rulers are organising official celebrations at a national level as a mark of respect for the thousands of people killed in the bloody conflict that saw Gaddafi captured and slain on October 20. But spontaneous commemorations began nationwide in cities and towns led by residents of Benghazi, the city that first rose against Gaddafi.
Men, women and children came out on the streets of Tripoli, Benghazi, Misurata and other towns to take part initial celebrations as of Thursday by setting off fire crackers and chanting slogans.
On Friday, Benghazi residents organised a function to formally celebrate the anniversary, which is to be attended by Libya's new leaders, led by National transitional Council chairman Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, and interim prime minister Abdurrahim el-Keeb and other members of the interim government and foreign and local dignitaries.
Abdul-Jalil warned that the revolutionary spirt of Libya and its stability will not be compromised in any way. “We opened our arms to all Libyans, whether they supported the revolution or not. But this tolerance does not mean we are incapable of dealing with the stability of our country,” he said in a television address late on Thursday.
“We will be tough towards people who threaten our stability. The thuwar (revolutionaries) are ready to respond to any attack aimed at destabilising" the country, Abdul-Jalil said.
Expressing joy at the revolution, the happy people of Libya have been saying all along, they are celebrating freedom for the first time. It seems that although they are still far from achieving all that they are aiming for, that there are still challenges to face, and rowdy militias to tame, there is joy everywhere.
Over 50,000 people are estimated to have been killed or wounded in the conflict, the country's vital oil production ground to a halt, and homes, businesses, factories, schools and hospitals were devastated.
The challenges facing Libya's new rulers are manifold, including rebuilding an ageing and damaged infrastructure, and the cities that bore the brunt of the fighting, fostering vibrant state institutions, tackling a corrupt economy and boosting what are weak health, judicial and educational systems.
The new rulers also need to control the tens of thousands of ex-rebels who have now turned into powerful and rival militias, who regularly clash with each other and cause fatalities. The have emerged as the biggest security threat for Libya as human rights groups and accuse them of torturing their prisoners, most of whom are former pro-Gaddafi fighters.
Meanwhile, prime minister el-Keeb has acknowledged that integrating these militias into security services is a "complex" issue, but on Thursday said that about 5,000 of them had been integrated into the security services.
Italian prime minister Mario Monti arrived in the Libyan capital, Tripoli Saturday to revive a treaty of friendship and to offer his nation's expertise in training police in the country that after an eight-month revolution emerged from the dictatorial rule of Muammar Gaddafi.
On his first visit to Libya since the ousting of Gaddafi, Monti is leading a delegation of high-ranking officials, including foreign minister Giulio Terzi and Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola.
Monti is expected to hold talks with Libya's new leaders, including the head of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, and interim prime minister Abdurrahim el-Keeb. He is also expected to sign a series of bilateral agreements, including one that will offer Italy's services in training the police force of the new Libya.
During his sty in Libya, Monti, who has taken over the premiership of Italy, Libya's country's former colonial power, from Silvio Berlusconi, will also open a consulate in Libya and Libyan sources said, will hand over the sculpted head of the first century Domitilla Minor, which was smuggled from the Libyan town of Sabratha in the 1960s and recently auctioned at Christie's.
The Italian premier's visit is also to focus on reviving a friendship treaty between Italy and Libya that was signed between Berlusconi and Gaddafi, that was suspended during last year's conflict.
Monti is reciprocating the visit the head of the NTC Mustafa Abdul-Jalil made to Rome last month to discuss the treaty that was signed by Gaddafi and Berlusconi, that helped ease the way for billions of euros (dollars) in two-way investments.
Italy also agreed to pay Libya five billion euros over 25 years in compensation for colonial rule and included the construction of around 1,700 kilometres of coastline motorway in Libya. Under the treaty, more than 180 Italian businesses took advantage of the favourable terms for trade links in Libya.
The head of ENI, that became the biggest foreign energy producer in Libya, and, sources say, has signed a memorandum of understanding for undertaking social projects worth 380 million euros, is also accompanying Monti's delegation.
The Italian premier's visit also comes at a time, when, according to Dow Jones Newswires, the Libyan Central Bank has decided to refrain from participating in a planned recapitalisation of Italian bank UniCredit. Down Jones has reported that the Libyan central bank's current holding of 4.9 percent of the capital in UniCredit would be cut to around 2.7 percent.
Rome had unblocked funds frozen when Gaddafi was running Libya so that the central bank could take part in UniCredit's capital increase worth a total 7.5 billion euros ($9.7 billion), as it was initially expected to do, reports.
Monti's visit is expected to follow next month with another high-level Italian delegation.
Mohamad Syala, the director general of Libya’s Cooperation Department of the People’s Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation, has been quoted saying that the volume of trade between Libya and France in 2010 amounted to $4billion.
The Libyan exports mainly include crude oil and petroleum products and petrochemicals. The Libyan imports from France include machinery and equipment, generators and some food items.
According to Syala, French companies are implementing projects worth $27billion in Libya.
Italian Energy Company Eni SpA has agreed to help Libya build a naval port, desalizization plant and 1,000 houses in the EI Agheila area along the Gulf of Sirte.
Eni Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni signed on 20 December the MOU during a weekend ceremony in Tripoli, the energy company said in a statement.
The memorandum outlines the undisclosed terms for construction of a shipping port and related infrastructure, a water desalination plant and 1,000 houses in an area near the Gulf of Sidra.
The Italian company said it signed a memorandum in 2006 with the Gaddafi Development foundation and Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp. to help build an “innovative program of social projects” in the country.
Eni, Italy’s largest natural gas and oil company, is the biggest foreign palyer in Libya in terms of hydrocarbon production.
Eni said the agreement was part of a 2006 deal with the Libyans to invest in social projects such as building hospitals, preserving archaeological sites and training Libyan graduates.
Italy and Libya have long had good ties, which were sealed with a 2008 “friendship treaty” in which Italy agreed to pay Tripoli $5 billion for its 30-years occupation.
El Agheila is 2180 kilometeres (175 miles) west of Benghazi