Ghadaffi dangles large projects as bait to lure investors back to Libya

open | 21 April, 2016

Foreign business delegations are flocking to Libya for the first time in a decade.

A Swedish business delegation, led by State Secretary Yvonne Gustafsson, this week ended the first visit to Libya of its kind since 1989.

What has caused a virtual congestion of foreign business delegations in Tripoli's byzantine corridors of power  is the fact that

Libya can pay for themselves thanks to their - compared to its population

5.6 million inhabitants - huge oil reserves.

The Swedish companies were, during the week long visit, invited to participate in numerous tenders worth billions of dollars.

"Sweden was very positive against Libya in connection
med Lockerbiekrisen, the Swedish view was balanced and it accepted our position. We also admire the Swedish entrepreneurs because they did not leave but stayed on, said Deputy Industry and Mining Minister Ali Faris to DI."

The Swedish trade delegation visit was made possible after United Nations in April relaxed
sanctions against Libya after the country's
leader Moammar Gadhaffi agreed to disclose the
the two Libyan nationals suspected of having caused a Pan

Am plane crashed in Lockerbie, 1988.

Among the major projects that the Libyans now want in the Swedish companies
in, hear a gigantic water project called the Great Man-Made River
Project, construction of a subway in the city of Tripoli, the rehabilitation of
the country's airlines and airports in anticipation of the tourist invasion,
and a billion investment in its promising oil and

energy industry.

Both NCC and Skanska, represented by the Regional Directors Göran Olofsson

and Lars Nihlén, showed an interest in the prestigious

Water project, which Libya is already estimated to have invested more than 25
billions of dollars since the early 1980s.
In the current third

phase expected additional $ 5 billion at stake for the big

international construction companies.

ABB, which was represented by Lars Elvhage ABB Västerås, showed

interest in going into any underground construction.
ABB could

pointing out that the delivered locomotives and wagons to similar projects in

Swiss ABB is also already in possession of a tender for the construction of
a new gas power plant.

Libyans said to be interested in buying Saab aircraft

2000, although production of the plane put down, but Saab had

no representative of who could answer that question.

The Swedish truck manufacturers Scania and Volvo have also attracted

the Libyan interest.
Both have a modest presence for the day, but are interested in either start installation or local service.

Swedish exports to Libya have stood still in the 1990s.

the past five years has fluctuated between 600 and 800 million, last

year, exports were 712 million crowns.

They drew ABB, Ericsson and trading house Elof Hansson most of

ABB sold the power equipment of about 300 million,

Ericsson's exports stood at around 200 million and Elof Hansson exported

paper and pulp for approximately SEK 100 million.

Swedish companies have not therefore ceased to have business with

Most cautious, however, companies in the aerospace, energy and finance
had to be, then the United States, which has kept its own sanctions, not looking
kindly to companies that moved in and taken over the markets
Americans were forced to leave in the 1980s.

The atmosphere in Libya, where Moammar Gadhaffi and his Arab socialist

theses in the so-called Green Book is still a public

precept, is on the surface more relaxed than a few years ago.

Libyans now wants foreign investment, well aware that

they then have to compromise with their socialist dogma.
An example

is the country's sole mobile operator, where Ericsson supplies

equipment, which is owned by the state and half by

private interests.

The greatest potential

Libya, with its vast oil reserves, the market in North Africa

has the greatest potential to grow quickly, that is, if Moammar

Gadhaffi release rein further.
Its oil revenues of approximately

70 billion is expected to double in the coming years.

One of the players in the Libyan oil market, Lundin Oil, which plans

to start oil production from its El Naga deposit, located

in the middle of the country, at the end of next year.

What can stop a thawing of the business with Libya is for the UN to

all expectations, does not abolish its sanctions, or

Secretary-General in July, a report on the subject.
Even the United States,

which along with Britain was behind the isolation of Libya

after the Lockerbie disaster, began talks with the Libyans in the last


To Libya to be attractive, it must make substantial

economic reforms.
Its double exchange is costly for

foreign companies.
It must adhere to the official

the exchange rate that is ten times higher than the black rate.

Bureaucracy and corruption are other problems that entrepreneurs suffer when

doing business in the country.


18 June, 1999


Fastest growing: A Swedish business delegation visited Libya for the first

time since 1989. The country, with its vast oil reserves, the

market in North Africa with the greatest potential to grow rapidly.

Previously published in Dagens Industri

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