Publication: Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya: Country Economic Report

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The Libyan economy is dominated by hydrocarbons and the public sector. Sizeable oil wealth has supported decent living standards for Libya's population and socioeconomic development compares favorably with standards in other Middle Eastern and North African countries. Libya has the potential to raise oil production and revenues significantly in coming years given its large reserve base- but the main challenge for Libya is to promote growth of the non-oil sector, and spur diversification of its economy. Non hydrocarbon GDP growth has been weak and oil revenue volatility has been transmitted to non-hydrocarbon GDP growth. Weak non-oil GDP growth reflects both insufficient private investment and low productivity of capital Improving efficiency and productivity growth is a precondition for faster growth and a greater investment effort. Strong productivity growth is also a prerequisite for competitive diversification out of hydrocarbons. Projected high oil revenues will provide finance for growth but will not necessarily spur sustained growth in the non-oil sector. The decisions concerning public investment in (social and economic) infrastructure would better be de-linked from the presence of hydrocarbon windfalls. To foster non-oil growth and job creation, the oil windfalls should be used strategically, with the aim of facilitating the transition to a competitive, market-led economy. Over the long term, the intermediation of hydrocarbon windfalls through the household and business sectors might produce superior long run growth performance, but should go in tandem with considerable strengthening of the investment climate. Enhancing the quality of Libya's human resources will also be essential to improve productivity, diversify out of oil-especially in services-and compete in the global economy. Improving the quality of governance would also deserve particular attention because it underlies the development reform agenda. This report focuses on strengthening public financial management, the investment climate in open markets, reforming state-owned enterprises, priorities in financial sector reform, and enhancing social protections.
World Bank. 2006. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya : Country Economic Report. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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