You are on page 1of 21

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

25th february 2013

.

issue 05

Libyan Celebrations demonstrate signs of progress as the New Libya faces up to the challenges of building a Nation
Ibrahim A. El Mayet – Tripoli – 18.02.2013

Contents
P1 - P3 Feature
• Libyan Celebrations demonstrate signs of progress as the New Libya faces up to the challenges of building a Nation

P4 International Perspective

• Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines denied permission to resume Libya flights • Libya to host 10th Arab Energy Conference • Bilateral relations between Libya and UAE in tourism sector • Libya requests technical cooperation to assist with border security threat • Bright future for Libyan-South Korean business relations

P5 Regional Focus

On the second anniversary of Libya’s Feb17 revolution, Libyan’s yet again defied the doomsayers as tens of thousands of Libyans in towns and cities across the country took to the streets to celebrate the anniversary in distinctly Libyan style.
The weeks leading up to the anniversary became increasingly tense as expectations of violent demonstrations and disorder rose particularly amongst

international stakeholders. Intelligence reports prompted International governments including the UK, Germany and France to pull their nationals out of Libya’s second city Benghazi. The decision by international airlines including Lufthansa, Austrian, and Alitalia to cancel flights in the run up to the anniversary further dented confidence amongst international companies with many pulling staff out of Libya, and business travellers cancelling scheduled trips. Recent events in Mali and Algeria have compounded the

• Libya reopens International borders

P6 - P8 Feature

• Mixed picture from Benghazi on second anniversary of the revolution by Mohamed Eljarh

P9 – P12 Business in Brief

• 2013 Budget, Economy outlook, Benghazi Economic Council, Ministry of Labour Training Centres, • Aviation – Tobruk Airport, • Oil & Gas – Wintershall output, New discovery in Ghadames Basin, 2012 crude exports, • Transport – Projects to restart, • Agriculture – Irish cattle exports to Libya.

P13 – P21 The Interview

• Mervet Mhani – FGM / Ministry of Martyrs & Missing • Dr. Guma El-Gamaty – Taghyeer Party Founder • Nader El Gadi – Martyrs Square Media

Published by:

ie. consultancy+
LOndOn OFFIcE
15 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JA United Kingdom T: +44 20 7193 6404 E: info@ie-consultancy.com Skype: ieconsultancy

TrIPOLI OFFIcE

Tripoli residents celebrate by taking to the streets, above buildings in crowded Gumhoriya Street still bear the scars of the 2011 conflict. Page 1

Beny al Ahmer Street, Hay al Andalus, Tripoli, Libya T: +218 (0) 21 711 04 30 E: info@ie-consultancy.com Skype: ieconsultancylibya

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY
situation exposing the weakness of Libya’s infamously porous borders and raising concerns about stability across the region. The Libyan government took pre-emptive action announcing the closure of Libya’s borders and all airports except for Tripoli and Benghazi from the 14th – 18th February and stepping up security in towns and cities across Libya. The fact that they were able to do this effectively is itself a sign of the progress being made by the Zidan government since taking office in November. The check point’s set-up in Tripoli were more organised and manned increasingly by more confident and better equipped police and army personnel and less by militiamen. Even planned protests in Benghazi had a largely celebratory tone although they did deliver a serious message to Libya’s recently elected interim government that it is time for action! The decision by Benghazi federalists to cancel a planned rally for the 15th February (marking the day the revolution started in Benghazi in 2011) due to concerns it could be high jacked by extremist elements helped maintain peace. Many Libyans have been frustrated by the slow progress since the liberation of Libya; discontent is particularly rife in the East where many people feel that they are again being marginalised by the Government. Although the recent visits to Benghazi by Prime Minister Ali Zidan and Head of Congress Mohamed Magarief had a positive impact, Libya’s new government has only been given a temporary reprieve as calls for a serious plan to tackle the security situation and improve the local economy are mounting along with demands from Benghazi for the return of national institutions

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+

newly trained members of Libya’s Special Forces Police keeping order at checkpoint in Ben Ashour, Tripoli during the celebrations on 16th February.

which were originally founded in Benghazi including the National Oil Corporation and Libyan Airlines. Reading all the negative press coverage of Libya in recent weeks, I found myself sitting in the relative calm of Tripoli wondering whether they knew something we didn’t! The approaching anniversary felt like another make or break moment for Libya. So it was with some trepidation that I went out on the anniversary armed with my camera (which got me into trouble

Page 2

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+

a couple of times last year) only to be met by the now familiar festivities which marked the first anniversaries of the start of the revolution in February 2011, the liberation of Tripoli in August and the liberation of the Country in October 2011. Joining the traffic on the streets with the constant cacophony of car horns, fireworks and music blasting out of cars and speakers set-up for impromptu street parties is such a buzz, the atmosphere is electric. If only all traffic jams were that much fun! Everywhere you looked people were dancing and the sky was full of fireworks and lanterns.

is way behind schedule, national reconciliation and dealing with current human rights abuses and discrimination including the displacement of minorities like the people of Twargah, implementing the rule of law and a strong judiciary, improving the standards of Libya’s healthcare and education systems, restarting stalled infrastructure projects and developing new ones, effecting solid business regulations and meaningful policies for economic development and diversification to provide new sources of income and employment, tackling corruption and fraud, the list goes on. A New Libya will not be built in a day, I don’t think the revolution has succeeded yet, but I still believe that it can.

Cause for Celebration?
Although Libya has made progress since its Liberation in October 2011, including holding it first elections in July 2012 and fostering new media freedoms and a blossoming civil society, progress in many areas has been lacking. Libya has suffered set-backs since its liberation and faces enormous challenges to realise its development goals including reigning in militias and tackling current security issues, building a national consensus and drafting a new constitution which

Page 3

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+
Libya to host 10th Arab Energy conference – 16.02.13 In mid-2014 Libya will play host to the 10th Arab Energy Conference. Topics to be covered at the conference include energy resources and their development prospects, energy consumption and conservation, environment and energy for sustainable development, the role of regional markets and institutions in relation to world market stability. Other areas that will be discussed include international developments in oil and natural gas markets, investment in oil and natural gas projects, prospective technology developments and Arab cooperation in the energy sector.

International Perspective
Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines denied permission to resume Libya flights – 21.02.2013 Despite being ready to resume flights to Libya, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, which had suspended flights to Tripoli on 5th February citing security concerns, have been denied permission to recommence flights. Speaking to the Libya Herald an official at Tripoli airport said that Lufthansa’s and Austrian Airlines’ flights would be blocked for at least a week. A spokesperson for Lufthansa told the Libya Herald that “The aviation authorities are working on restoring our flight plan and traffic rights, and we need to await their approval.” Bilateral relations between Libya and UAE in tourism sector – 12.02.13 UAE Ambassador met with Libya’s tourism minister in Tripoli to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries in an effort to further strengthen ties between the two countries. Looking at investment in tourism and hoping to benefit from UAE’s wealth of experience in the field could lead to large benefits for both Arab countries.

Libya requests technical cooperation to assist with border security threat – 14.02.13 Meeting with French President, Francois Hollande, the day after a Ministerial Conference in Paris which took place on 12th February, Libyan PM, Ali Zidan stated that Libya needed technical cooperation to help the country solve the growing security threat posed by inadequate border control. The Ministerial Conference which included representatives from Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Qatar, Spain, Turkey, the UAE, the UK and the USA as well as the African Union, the Arab Maghreb Union, the EU, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab League and the UN focused on security concerns, particularly in securing Libya’s borders. Libya shares international borders with six countries, Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Algeria and Tunisia measuring some 6,000 kilometres. A statement issued after the talks said an EU mission to help better border management would be deployed by June. The next Ministerial Libya Support conference will be held in Italy.

Bright future for Libyan-South Korean business relations – 19.02.13 It is believed that a Korean delegation next week will discuss with Libya’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry ways to improve small to medium sized development projects and showing how Korea managed to incorporate its medium to small sized enterprises to achieve this. This is another example of cooperation between the two countries. Last week Young Cook, South Korea’s Ambassador to Libya, stated that cooperation between the two countries should not and will not be limited to just the oil and gas sector and the selling of cars, but instead would potentially cover all sectors of the market. It has been estimated that contracts between the two countries already value over a billion LYD and that figure could increase considerably over the coming year.

Page 4

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+

Regional Focus

Libya reopens International borders
- 20.02.2013 Tunisia – Border crossings at Ras Jadir and Wazen-Dahiba (Nafusa Mountains) were reopened Monday 18th February after remaining closed for five days during the anniversary of Libya’s Feb17 revolution, both are reportedly operating normally according to the Ministry of Interior.

Egypt – Despite reopening on Tuesday the Egyptian border crossing was blocked on Tuesday by Egyptians protesting at new Libyan visa regulations. According to Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm protestor in the Egyptian border town of Sollum, are preventing Libyan nationals from entering Egypt and stopping goods vehicles from crossing the border in either direction. They are threatening to continue their blockade until new visa rules are revoked. The significant buildup of traffic at the border resulting from the five day closure imposed by Libya for the anniversary of the revolution has been compounded by the on-going blockade by Egyptian protestors.

www.albanyassociates.com

PROVIDING COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIES AND SOLUTIONS IN CHALLENGING AND TRANSITIONAL ENVIRONMENTS

Page 5

think global

. connect local

LIBYA
Feature

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+

Mixed picture from Benghazi on second anniversary of the revolution
By Mohamed Eljarh The city of Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city has always been on the forefront of all the major events in Libya’s modern history. King Idris announced Libya’s independence from Benghazi in 1951 and Gaddafi staged his coup against king Idris from Benghazi in 1969. In February 2011, Benghazi sparked the Libyan revolution and became the capital of the revolution throughout the conflict and until liberation was formally declared in Benghazi on October 23, 2011. To mark the second anniversary of the revolution, Benghazi protested and celebrated at the same time. Despite the fears and concerns of violence breaking out in the city, the protests and celebrations were completely peaceful. Two years after the revolution Benghazi is demanding a prominent and prestigious status in the new Libya after decades of systematic neglect by Gaddafi. The demands in Benghazi include the return of institutions such as, the National Oil Corporation, Libyan Airlines and the Central Bank. Gaddafi relocated these high profile government institutions to Tripoli following his coup in order to centralise power and consolidate After the formal declaration of liberation, the transitional authorities moved wholesale to the capital Tripoli. Since then Benghazi suffered from security vacuum and the feelings of neglect and marginalization by the central authorities resurfaced. Federalists in eastern Libya exploited those feelings of resentment and frustration by using Benghazi as the base for their famous unilateral declaration of autonomy on March 6, 2012. The declaration had a striking effect throughout Libya and brought the debate about federalism to the forefront of Libya’s domestic politics ever since. The federalists’ movement in eastern Libya succeeded on occasions to pressure the authorities into yielding to demands such as the amendment of article 30 of the constitutional declaration to elect the constitutional drafting committee instead of appointment by the General National Congress (the country’s current legislature). his rule. Other demands include recognition of the city as Libya’s economic and business capital.

Page 6

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+
majority of Cyrenaica’s (Barqa in Arabic) population. Such claims consultancy+ are affirmed by the recent visit to Benghazi by the de facto head of state Mohamed Magariaf and the Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. During the visit both Magariaf and Zeidan held meetings with federalists and other political and civil society forces in Benghazi. After the visit, federalists cancelled their calls for protests and civil disobedience, and allowed more time for the authorities to respond to their demands with actions on the ground. The group has now set March 30, 2013 as the deadline for the authorities’ response to their demands. The upcoming constitution will address these tricky issues of decentralization, federalism and the sharing of wealth and power. On the economic front, Benghazi is taking steps to realise the vision of becoming Libya’s economic and business hub. The most recent move was when businessmen and political leaders in Benghazi approved a proposal to set up an organisation to promote the city’s economic growth. Plans are being drawn up to build a free trade zone and proposed public works projects to provide jobs, and help tackle the high levels of unemployment in the region. The local economy in Benghazi is already focusing on business areas

Feature continued

ie.

Mixed picture from Benghazi on second anniversary of the revolution
The 60 member strong constitutional drafting committee will have 20 representatives from each of the three old provinces. Thus, direct election of the committee will offer the federalists’ movement an effective role to play in the drafting of Libya’s new constitution. The federalists demand a federal governing system for Libya with the revival of the three old provinces Cyrenaica, Fezzan and Tripolitania, the adoption of Libya’s 1951 constitution as the basis for the country’s new constitution, and the recognition of Benghazi as Libya’s second capital along with Tripoli. The popular base for federalists in eastern Libya is not yet determined. However, they claim that their views represent the

Page 7

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+

Feature continued

such as cement, and cable and steel pipe factories, as well as oil services, but foreign investments and partnerships are badly needed. A number of large-scale projects have already restarted in Benghazi including the building of a temporary passenger terminal at the airport until the city’s new airport is ready. In addition, a Turkish contractor is currently building a three-tower administrative and residential complex. Clearly, the city is working hard to improve its infrastructure and prepare for potential influx of foreign companies and investment.

interests and organizations. The horrible tragedy of the attack on the US mission in Benghazi left a lasting negative impact on the city’s image in the west. The new Minister of Interior is currently implementing phase two of his security plan, which entails normalizing the role of the national police and army. Unlicensed weapons carried in public would be confiscated and owners prosecuted. Cars with tinted windows or without number plates would be stopped and confiscated. Finally, the fact that celebrations and protests in Benghazi to

Benghazi benefits from its strategic location, an educated population and a wealth of entrepreneurial spirit among its people. Despite the efforts on the ground, to revive Benghazi as an economic and business hub; many acknowledge that security remains a priority and a huge concern for foreign investors and companies. The security situation in Benghazi is steadily improving, after months of security vacuum, with assassinations targeting prominent security officials. In addition, the attacks of western

mark the second anniversary of the revolution went by without any major security incidents is a clear indication that the security situation is improving and the government plans are working. Moreover, according to the government plans, the year 2013 would be the year when security throughout Libya is improved significantly.

Mohamed Eljarh is a UK based Libyan academic researcher and political, social development activist. He is from the city of Tobruk in Eastern Libya. Follow him on Twitter @Eljarh or email to: mohamed.eljarh@gmail.com

Page 8

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+
frustrated population. No breakdown of this year’s budget has yet to be disclosed, although in addition to Libya’s enormous subsidies, electricity, water and roadworks are expected to feature strongly in the government’s spending plans.

Business in Brief

ie. consultancy+

Libya’s LYD 66 billion 2013 budget will be subjected to further review in Congress
– 20.02.2013 After announcing earlier this month that Libya’s budget for the next year will be 66 billion LYD (slightly lower than the LYD68.5 billion set in 2012 which remains largely unspent), the GNC has announced that the budget will be referred to its various specialised committees for further review and consultation with Ministries after the review by the Finance Committee on Tuesday was inconclusive. After last year’s massive underspend, approximately 61% more than LYD41 billion remains unused as a result of inactivity rather than over-budgeting, it is clear that swift action is required to meet the demands of an increasingly

Central Bank Governor optimistic about Libya’s economy in 2013
– 19.02.13 In an interview with Sky News Arabia, the Governor of Libya’s Central Bank, Saddek El Kaber, stated that he was optimistic about the country’s economy in 2013. Saying that he was confident that the security issue that has been plaguing Libya since the revolution of 2011 would improve this year, he predicted an up to 20% increase in the economy over the next 11 months which is 4% higher than that predicted by IMF’s forecast. Talking to Sky about Libya’s overseas frozen, assets worth in the region of $125 billion, he said that all of the assets had now been released allowing Libya the freedom to decide what to do with them.

Local knowledge gets you a long way in Libya.
IE consultancy Plus (IE) is a young, dynamic business development agency, supplying market research, representation, advisory and support services to international clients looking to establish or extend their commercial presence in the emerging markets of the new Libya. With offices in Tripoli and London and supported by associates based throughout Libya’s key commercial locations, IE boasts a unique profile founded on the experience and vision of its management team and developed on the collective expertise of its extended network of consultants. For more information on how we can help you to do business in Libya contact us now in either London or Tripoli LOndOn OFFIcE
15 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JA United Kingdom T: +44 20 7193 6404 E: info@ie-consultancy.com Skype: ieconsultancy

TrIPOLI OFFIcE
Beny al Ahmer Street, Hay al Andalus, Tripoli, Libya T: +218 (0) 21 711 04 30 E: info@ie-consultancy.com Skype: ieconsultancylibya

think global

. connect local
think global

Page 9

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+

Business in Brief continued

New Benghazi Economic Ministry of Labour Council will be formed to approves more than 100 foster economic growth internal training centres – 12.02.13 in the region – 18.02.13
Abdurazaq Altentan, Minister of Labour, has announced that Political leaders and businessmen have agreed on a proposal to help support the growth of Benghazi’s economy. Receiving unanimous support from a range of organisations and businessmen, the new Benghazi Economic Council will have a 14 strong committee tasked with setting the council up. The aim of the council is to support the economic growth of the region, identifying sustainable opportunities and offering a forum for all to voice their ideas and concerns. that the Ministry has approved more than 100 training centres to be established across Libya. Altentan, who is waiting for the budget to be approved following the completion of the Ministries complete training plan for 2013, said that these training centres will be free for all Libyans.

Page 10

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+
Serving the Libyan OiL induStry
For enquiries please contact us on: +218 (0) 217178216 - info@zenoilfield.com

ie. consultancy+

Business in Brief continued

Wintershall unsure of when they will reach pre-revolution output levels
– 18.02.13 Rainer Seele, Wintershall CEO, said that they are unable to accurately forecast when Wintershall’s Libyan production would return to pre-revolution levels. Prior to 2011, Wintershall was producing 100,000 barrels per day whereas it is currently at around 80,000 barrels per day. Seele put this down to “the technical condition of the infrastructure which is the limiting factor”.

Oil and Natural Gas discovered in Ghadames Basin

– 18.02.03

Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) and Algerian state owned Sonatrach have discovered a new oil field containing 8,200 barrels per day and a natural gas deposit with a capacity of 1,700 cubic meters per day. They have not issued a time frame for development.

Tobruk Civil Airport to become an International Airport – 12.02.13
Libya’s Ministry of Transport has announced that the civil airport in Tobruk will become an international airport. The airport will be used by Libyan Airlines to fly to what is hoped will be an ever increasing number of international destinations.

Crude Oil Exports exceeded 485 million barrels in 2012
– 18.02.13 Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) has announced that in 2012 Libya exported over 485 million barrels of Crude Oil, equivalent to 1.33 million barrels per day. 379.508 barrels were exported directly by the NOC with its partners handling the remaining amount. African Manager released a report stating that Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa but currently is the second largest exporter after Nigeria.

Ministry of Transport to resume stalled projects
– 19.02.13 The Ministry of Transport has announced that it will resume projects that were put on hold as a result of the revolution of 2011. Priorities for the Ministry will be resuming the road link between Azzawiay and Bir Alghanem due to frequent and serious accidents on that stretch. The Ministry also discussed with other relevant government bodies the issue of compensating Libyan nationals who lost their land to the previous regime.

Page 11

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+

Libya takes steps to pay compensation and back payments to Turkey
– 21.02.13 Following a meeting this week in Ankara with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the roughly $20 billion that is owed by Libya for back payments on contracts and compensation, Libya’s Prime Minister, Ali Zidan agreed to repay half, $10 billion of the outstanding debt with the remainder to be repaid at a later date. This meeting followed a Turkish delegation to Tripoli last week where frustrations over the unpaid debt were voiced by members of the delegation believing that the previous Libyan government run by El-Kieb had promised to make the compensation a priority but failed to do so. This follows a decision by, the current Libyan government to pay Italian companies €600 billion in outstanding payments. First Irish cattle exports to Libya in 13 years – 19.02.13 – The first shipment of live cattle in 13 years will be shipped from Ireland to Libya this week. In 1996 Gaddafi banned all live cattle exports from the EU due to the BSE break out. Ireland used to export a large amount of cattle to Libya prior to 1996 with some 81,420 cattle worth €70 million in 1995. The Irish Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, welcomed the news whilst animal rights activists claimed they were concerned about the resumption of live cattle trade to Libya.

Page 12

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+

The Interview

Mervat Mhani
Member of the activist group Free Generation Movement (FGM)

For this week’s issue, to mark the second anniversary of the start of the Feb17 revolution which brought about the end of the Gaddafi regime and the liberation of Libya in October 2011, we spoke to three inspiring Libyans who, after taking part in the Libyan revolution have continued to take an active role in shaping Libya’s future. For each of them the revolution has had a profound influence on the lives they now lead in the new Libya.
First we visited Mervat Mhani, a member of the activist group Free Generation Movement (FGM), in her office at the Ministry of Martyrs & the Missing where she has been working since December 2011 in the International Relations department following up on the file of the missing, a cause which she and her peers at FGM have supported since the Revolution. LBW: What were you doing before the revolution? MM: I was not involved in politics or Libya; I was just taking care of my two daughters. The revolution changed a lot of people’s perspective on Libya; and given us a chance to make our country better for the next generation. LBW: How did you get involved in the revolution, what were you doing during the Uprising? MM: I was part of the Free Generation Movement (FGM) which was founded by my brother and cousin, in the early days we focused on getting information out, no information was getting out of Tripoli and people had the impression that the city was pro-Gaddafi. We tried to raise moral and awareness through civil disobedience, we made flag drops, smuggled journalists LBW: You went on to join the Ministry of Martyrs & Missing, what is your role there? MM: After the liberation [October 2011] FGM turned its attention to many projects, I was working on the missing, trying to create a database of people who had gone missing from prisons, hospitals and cities across Libya. We collected 900 names registered both online and manually on forms. In December 2011 we and other out of the Rixos, played the National Anthem through speakers in Fashloom [a district in Tripoli], and we managed to establish an internet connection after it was cut which allowed us to send out messages. We didn’t think about the consequences, I don’t remember being scared at the time, it was a duty.

12 August 2012 – completion of PSA Training by MEPI Grantees

Page 13

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+
31 January 2013 – British Prime Minister david cameron with FGM in Martyrs Square, Tripoli during his recent surprise visit to the Libyan capital.

The Interview continued

NGO’s working on the missing including the Libyan Association for the Missing held a demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s office in Tripoli asking for an entity to be established to followup on the cases of the missing. In December 2011 the Ministry of Martyrs and Missing was formed with assistance from civil society, most of the staff are NGO members, all NGO’s submitted their databases of missing people. I joined the Ministry to work on International relations; I had previously worked in the US embassy for 5 years. We are also supporting this cause through the FGM Mafqood Project [www.mafqood.org] advocating for the families of the missing, supporting them to set-up associations. We are working with International organisations which have worldwide experience including International Commission on Missing Persons ICMP which has 17 years’ experience working on cases including Balkans, Iraq and Hurricane Katrina; the International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC and Physicians for Human Rights PHR. We have advocated for funds for them to come to Libya to build capacity and technical teams and evidence collection, each mass grave is a crime scene. It is important to support Libyan ownership of the project building capacity for the long term. Some people [locally] criticize international funding when Libya is ‘rich’ but we want more to be done and we need the expertise.

Things are moving at a slow pace and families are still suffering, some know where their relatives are buried but cannot collect the remains. The Ministry is collecting reference samples from families for identification. Not much is being done on psychosocial care for families; they have no closure, no peace of mind. The case of Martyrs is different, the families have some closure, and they can go on Hajj. Families of the missing go through the pain every day. At the rate we are going this will take years, families will have to wait for years and that is very sad. At FGM we will start advocating for psychosocial support for families and for the creation of families associations so they feel some ownership, the government and the GNC [General National Congress] will change but the family associations will be constant. LBW: What is the remit of the ministry? MM: The mandate of the ministry is to deal with all Libyan families of the martyred and the missing, we are not dealing with perpetrators, we deal with families. It is not allowed by our religious or humanitarian values to discriminate. We are dealing with those who are missing in Libya, not just Libyans or revolutionaries. The Ministry has been discriminating, they have been paying allowances of LYD1,000 per month to families of the thooar [revolutionaries] since 2011, but stopped payments

Page 14

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+
those who feel they are above the law, it was a brave statement. Implementing the rule of law is the way to go. There has been a lot of talk about security but little has been done since the liberation, we can’t expect results in the blink of an eye but we need a plan and more action to incorporate militia members into the state security as individuals not groups. One year on from the Liberation and we still have Militias everywhere, they say they are under the Ministry of Interior but it has no power over them. Abductions and disappearances are still common. I would like to see militias disbanded, I only want to see police and army not militias under a government banner where the government has no control. I want to see a strong judicial system which can take action on people who don’t respect laws. We must improve the health system and education, bringing people in to develop the local systems and infrastructure rather than sending people abroad, people will wait, they don’t need hand-outs. We expected change but we haven’t seen it. I would like to remain positive otherwise it would be a waste. It will take a long time; we need to help ourselves, to help the government. We need to change ourselves to see change.

The Interview continued
to families of suspected Gaddafi loyalists, they only received two months of payments. The new authorities are trying to rectify this. We are still without a minister, the first resigned and the second nominee was rejected by the GNC’s Transparency & Integrity Commission. I think Martyrs and Missing should be handled separately, it is still difficult for the families of Martyred revolutionaries to understand why the families of Gaddafi supporters are with them. LBW: How do you feel about Libya’s progress two years on from the start of the revolution? MM: The Revolution is off track, we went out in support of human rights, rule of law, and better standards of living not in terms of money but development. We [Libya] are focusing on revenge and isolation not bringing people together. The law is capable of dealing with people who committed crimes; isolation on the basis of political beliefs is going too far. What I hoped for is that we could show Gaddafi supporters that this revolution is good for all, to win them to our side not shut them out. So far I am happy the new Prime Minister [Ali Zidan] and most of the cabinet, we see them addressing the public more; at least they are talking to us. I am optimistic about the Minister of Justice; he has a strong stance on human rights, and promised to crack down on

business bridges
with

Building

Libya

The LBBC is the only trade association devoted exclusively to promoting bilateral trade and investment between the UK and Libyan business communities.

50 Broadway, London SW1H 0RG T: +44 (0)20 7152 4051 E: secretariat@lbbc.org.uk www.lbbc.org.uk

Page 15

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+

The Interview

Dr. Guma El-Gamaty
Founder of the Taghyeer Party During the week we met with Dr. Guma El-Gamaty, founder of the Taghyeer Party at the Party’s new Headquarters in Tripoli. An academic and political activist Dr. El-Gamaty spent more than 30 years living in exile in the UK where in 2011 he took on the official role of UK coordinator for Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) before returning to Libya and founding a new political party. LBW: How did you come to be involved in the revolution? GE: I was living in the UK, I had not been back to Libya for 31 years, since the summer of 1980, I was known as an opponent to the regime as political activist and commentator. Even when I moved to the UK in the mid-70’s at the age of 18 I was always engaged with political events in Libya including protests against the hanging of students and the crushing of the student movement by the regime. In 1981 I joined the Libyan opposition abroad when I was only 23, I was one the activists in the opposition, I have been engaged in Libyan Politics ever since, it is part of my life. When the revolution started in Tunisia it triggered the notion that the same thing should happen in Libya, many people in the diaspora made contact with activists in Libya and LBW: What were you doing before the revolution? GE: I was lecturing and also doing part time PhD research, I had completed this just before the revolution. The title of my thesis was ‘Libya’s Brain drain and the relationship with democratisation and human development in Libya’. Tens of thousands of highly educated and skilled Libyans are working outside Libya; this has had a significant impact on Libya over the last 30 years. The causes were mainly, but not entirely due to lack of freedom and respect for human rights, disregard for the rule of law and lack of education and research facilities. My study looked at strategies for reversing this and how the diaspora can contribute to overall human and political development in Libya. Luckily the removal of Gaddafi’s dictatorship means that diaspora can come back. They showed this during the revolution coming back to Libya and making a valuable contribution through their efforts working in the media, providing humanitarian aid, logistics support and even fighting. LBW: Following the revolution you founded the Taghyeer Party, how did that come about and what was your motivation? GE: I returned to Libya for the first time in 31 years on 3rd November 2011 since then I have been mainly back in Libya and spending most of the time here. After my return we started a dialogue with lots of people to discuss the idea of setting up a they came up with the date of 17th February. The success of the Egyptian revolution gave us a huge lift and we felt that it was inevitable that Libya would come out on the streets on February 17th; it was a surprise that it started sooner on the 15th. When it started on the 15th, I and others in the diaspora gave our full attention to supporting the uprising through the media and lobbying for political support. I was asked in early March to become NTC coordinator with the UK Government, I remained in that role for the whole length of the revolution.

A meeting at the Party HQ in Tripoli

nationalist party, we had a large meeting in early March 2012,

Page 16

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+
dr. El-Gamaty and members of Tahgyeer Party at the opening ceremony of the Party’s Misurata Branch in January 2013.

The Interview continued

with about 90 people present and the ideas for the political party started to develop. We came out of that meeting with a steering committee, and then on 15th May 2012 we officially launched Taghyeer Party in Tripoli. Work commenced afterwards to set up branches and offices in 10 cities across Libya and the process is still on-going. Taghyeer Party is a nationalist party, it does not draw from the support of any fundamentalist groups and it is not a secular party. It is a mainstream, moderate party that respects the conservative nature of the Libyan society and respects Libyan heritage culture and most of all respects Libya’s Islamic religious values. LBW: What are the main aims for the Party now? GE: The Party is still in a founding stage, we are working hard to attract more members, we have already reached almost 5000 we hope to attract many more and set up offices and branches in every city and area. LBW: do you think Libya has made progress since its Liberation? GE: Yes, definitely, slow progress; slow, frustrating, but steady progress, we are in a transitional phase which is by no means easy, we hope we can build a national consensus and strong will so that we as Libyans will make it to a constitutional state that is based on rule of law and democracy. LBW: Where do you think the short fallings have been? And what are the major challenges? GE: The main short comings have been the slow pace of rebuilding vital institutions including police, army and security.

Also dealing the challenge of collecting arms which are widespread, and achieving a national reconciliation. LBW: What is the party’s stance on business and the economy? Would you implement any specific policies? GE: Our vision for Libya is still evolving, we are developing our political programme and we believe firmly in the free choice for Libyans to engage in any legal business activity and we believe in the vital role of the private sector. A new prospering Libya can only be built through a partnership between the state and the private sector where the state is curtailed and many business and commercial activities left to the private sector which does things very well compared to the government. Also we must address the nature of our economy which has been a rentier economy relying mainly on natural resources of oil and gas; we badly need to diversify our economy to create a productive economy. LBW: What about the role of international companies? GE: International companies have a major role to play in reconstructing Libya and helping Libya to achieve its development goals because they have the technology and expertise that are vitally needed. This has to be done through proper and fair partnership between Libyan and international companies so Libyans can benefit from expertise of international companies. The gains and benefits have to be mutual between Libya and its international partners. I strongly advice international companies to come and visit Libya to survey the market, establish contacts and develop relationships with local players.

Page 17

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+

The Interview

Nader El Gadi
Photographer and co-founder of Martyrs Square Media (MSM) Finally we caught up with Nader El Gadi a highly regarded local photographer who honed his craft after taking part in the liberation of Tripoli in August 2011 as a member of the Tripoli Brigade. Since swapping his weapon for a camera, Nader cofounded Martyrs Square Media (MSM) to share photography and raise awareness about social issues in Libya. MSM have recently gone into business and have ambitious plans for the future of the Company. LBW: What were you doing before the revolution? NG: I was just an ordinary guy like any young Libyan. I had some issues which meant I had to leave school and start working. I always loved photography and football; I got arrested twice for taking pictures at a football match. The second time was serious, I was taken by some guys who were from Gaddafi’s security but they were also Ahli supporters [the opposing team] so they decided to give me a hard time. I was badly beaten up and taken to the police station, they held me for about six hours interrogating me and taking my picture to make a criminal record. They told me I would have no future in Libya. It was true, it made it impossible for me to get an official job, you could with wasta [influence] but I had no wasta. After this I went to the UK to study English and take a foundation course, I got an offer from a Uni but I couldn’t take it, I didn’t have enough money and couldn’t get a scholarship even though they accepted others from tribes close to Gaddafi. After that I hated the regime, I went back to Libya in 2010 and started working to save money for Uni in the UK. Before I went to the UK I didn’t really know anything about the crimes of the Regime because nobody told us. I didn’t know about the flag [Libya’s tri-colour independence flag which Gaddafi replaced with the infamous solid green]. When I came back I told people what I knew, many people my age didn’t know about this. I didn’t believe the Libyan’s would revolt, but then the revolution started and I knew it was my chance to change my future.

An example of MSM’s recent design work on a Tripoli billboard.

Page 18

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+
I left for Tunisia travelling in a min-bus, we only got stopped once, and they questioned me because I am from Tajoura but luckily I got through. I stayed in Tunis for two weeks, it was boring there, many Libyans were living normally in Tunis, I went to some protests at the embassy but it was useless. I didn’t know anyone so I went up to Tatouine and tried to volunteer at some of the camps and joined some NGO’s doing humanitarian work. There I made contact with some people from Zintan and Nalut [Libyan towns in the Nafusa mountains]. If I hadn’t got to know these people I wouldn’t have been able to get into the mountains, I am from Tripoli so they would have suspected I was a Gaddafi loyalist. These were confusing days, my parents didn’t know what I was doing; I told my mother I would go back to England! I met some Tajourans in the mountains and joined the Tripoli brigade; I knew I had found my place. One of my friends, he died at the battle for Bab al Aziziya [Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli] told me to join the media group. Things really started to move in Ramadan, we trained while we were fasting which was tough. We managed to liberated Tiji and Birghanum and moved down to Zawia. On the 20th August we got the news that Tajoura was liberated and were waiting for us. At 5am on 21st we advanced into Tripoli, our brigade was the first on the road followed by another Brigade from Tripoli, the Suraya Al Hamra Brigade. Gaddafi’s brigades were cowards, some didn’t even fight, and many threw down their weapons and ran away. During the liberation of Bab al Aziziya on the 23rd many friends died. Our brigade moved to Mitiga airport and we maintained check-points and searched for wanted people. I stayed for about three weeks and decided to move on. LBW: What did you do after you left?

The Interview continued
LBW: How did you get involved in the revolution? NG: I was active on facebook from Tajoura [a district of Tripoli] opposing the regime, on the 16th February one day after the revolution started in Benghazi I was in Tajoura, there was a lot of tension but nobody went out. I had no hope, it was a depressing day. On the 17th some people went out but it was a small group, they went out to protest in support of the political prisoners in Abu Salim prison. The protest only lasted an hour and half and they were arrested. I went out with my group but we were not many. On the 18th there was a bigger protest, they [official security forces] shot at us and stopped it. The next day on the 19th there was a big protest after the Maghreb [dusk prayer], hundreds went out in Tajoura, they fired anti-aircraft shells at us, one of us was killed, and we had to retreat. We filled bottles with petrol, blocked roads and burnt tyres, they didn’t come into the town, they shot at us from outside. This was the first time in my life I had seen a bullet fired, one hit the wall behind me. This went on for days, but we didn’t have any weapons. The 25th was the biggest march in Libya tens of thousands went out after Guma Prayers [Friday prayers]. In Tajoura even kids went out from the mosque in the centre of Tajoura, the idea was to march to the square [Green Sqaure, now Martyrs Square]. I was somewhere in the middle when we reached Aisha’s [Gaddafi’s daughter] house and they started to shoot at us, my relative Anwar El Gadi died, so many people died that day. They didn’t only want to stop us, they wanted to kill as many of us as they could, they shot at us while we were going away. Some military police gave us guns and said they were with us. The 26th was a calm day, people buried the dead. After three days the protests started again, they would mostly happen at night, we would go out, they would shoot at us and we would have to retreat. Fridays were the main days. I remember one day, they [regime forces] knew that the BBC and Alarabiya were there so they used tear gas, this was the first time I had seen them use tear gas. When they saw the journalists get in their cabs and leave they started shooting again! By 18th March people were losing hope and energy. They [the regime] got stronger; they came and arrested people in their houses. They took everybody; they arrested many of my friends so we couldn’t stay at home. On the 20th April they arrested my friends; they tortured people with electric shocks and forced them to give up names. I didn’t get scared until they started arresting people, I was not afraid of death but arrest and torture scared me.

When I was in the mountains it was the first time I had handled a video camera, I saw such beautiful scenes in the morning and at sunset. I saw pictures in my mind. I had never seen mountains or such beautiful landscapes, I wanted to take pictures. My father was a photographer and artist. So I took his camera and went to Martyrs Square. I came up with Martyrs Square Media as a place to share pictures, I hooked up with a couple of friends doing the same thing and realised this was my path; I wanted to be a photographer. I went to every protest and event and started taking pictures; people started hiring me to take pictures. Because I am an activist I covered protests, we decided to set-up an NGO but then we also launched a business. We have a charity

Page 19

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+

The Interview continued
and a registered business. Our company covers events providing photography, we do graphic design and advertising, at the moment we have a lot of requests, people like our work. We are currently opening a new office with training and studio facilities. We do some voluntary work like our ‘Save the Old City’ campaign. There are kids living there who have no chance, they are so poor and many parents have problems with drugs and poverty, the kids are the victims, they have no future. I want to help these people, they need specialists, they don’t need money. ‘Save the Old City’ taught us that we cannot do everything, we had to engage with other NGO’s, we can raise awareness but we need help to help these people. For me photojournalism and activism are the most important thing, I want to highlight issues that people try to hide or to ignore, I want to help people. The best moment of my life was when I was in the camps; I remember the way the children smiled at me.

Photographs from the Old city, central Tripoli below main: showing derelict housing, whilst in the background a very different Tripoli. Below: children living in the Old city stand in front of their family home.

Page 20

think global

. connect local

LIBYA

BusIness weekLY

ie. consultancy+ ie. consultancy+

Page 21 11

think global

. connect local