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UPLIFT Educational Series
By Location > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
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Introduction Geography People Government Economy Communications Transportation Military Transnational Issues
Map of Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
IntroductionTop
Background:From the earliest days of his rule following his 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI has espoused his own political system, the Third Universal Theory. The system is a combination of socialism and Islam derived in part from tribal practices and is supposed to be implemented by the Libyan people themselves in a unique form of "direct democracy." QADHAFI has always seen himself as a revolutionary and visionary leader. He 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 Chad's Aozou Strip - to gain access to minerals and to use as a base of influence in Chadian politics - but was forced to retreat in 1987. UN sanctions in 1992 isolated QADHAFI politically following the downing of Pan AM Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Libyan support for terrorism appeared to have decreased after the imposition of sanctions. During the 1990s, QADHAFI also began to rebuild his relationships with Europe. UN sanctions were suspended in April 1999 and finally lifted in September 2003 after Libya resolved the Lockerbie case. In December 2003, Libya announced that it had agreed to reveal and end its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction, and QADHAFI has made significant strides in normalizing relations with western nations since then. He has received various Western European leaders as well as many working-level and commercial delegations, and made his first trip to Western Europe in 15 years when he traveled to Brussels in April 2004. QADHAFI also finally resolved in 2004 several outstanding cases against his government for terrorist activities in the 1980s by paying compensation to the families of victims of the UTA and La Belle disco bombings.
GeographyTop
Location:Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Tunisia
Geographic coordinates:25 00 N, 17 00 E
Map references:Africa
Area: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

Coastline:1,770 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
note: Gulf of Sidra closing line - 32 degrees, 30 minutes north

Climate:Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior
Terrain: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% (2001)

Irrigated land:4,700 sq km (1998 est.)
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; very limited natural fresh water resources; the Great Manmade River Project, the largest water development scheme in the world, is being built to bring water from large aquifers under the Sahara to coastal cities
Environment - international agreements:party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note:more than 90% of the country is desert or semidesert
PeopleTop
Population:5,765,563
note: includes 166,510 non-nationals (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:0-14 years: 33.9% (male 997,364/female 955,272)
15-64 years: 62% (male 1,842,775/female 1,729,235)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 117,967/female 122,950) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 22.68 years
male: 22.8 years
female: 22.56 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:2.33% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:26.82 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:3.48 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 24.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 26.92 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 22.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 76.5 years
male: 74.29 years
female: 78.82 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:3.34 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:0.3% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:10,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:NA
Nationality:noun: Libyan(s)
adjective: Libyan

Ethnic groups:Berber and Arab 97%, Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, Tunisians
Religions:Sunni Muslim 97%
Languages:Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.6%
male: 92.4%
female: 72% (2003 est.)

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
conventional short form: Libya
local long form: Al Jumahiriyah al Arabiyah al Libiyah ash Shabiyah al Ishtirakiyah al Uzma
local short form: none

Government type:Jamahiriya (a state of the masses) in theory, governed by the populace through local councils; in fact, a military dictatorship
Capital:Tripoli
Administrative divisions:25 municipalities (baladiyat, singular - baladiyah); Ajdabiya, Al 'Aziziyah, Al Fatih, Al Jabal al Akhdar, Al Jufrah, Al Khums, Al Kufrah, An Nuqat al Khams, Ash Shati', Awbari, Az Zawiyah, Banghazi, Darnah, Ghadamis, Gharyan, Misratah, Murzuq, Sabha, Sawfajjin, Surt, Tarabulus, Tarhunah, Tubruq, Yafran, Zlitan; note - the 25 municipalities may have been replaced by 13 regions
Independence:24 December 1951 (from Italy)
National holiday:Revolution Day, 1 September (1969)
Constitution:11 December 1969, amended 2 March 1977
Legal system:based on Italian civil law system and Islamic law; separate religious courts; no constitutional provision for judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:chief of state: Revolutionary Leader Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI (since 1 September 1969); note - holds no official title, but is de facto chief of state
head of government: Secretary of the General People's Committee (Prime Minister) Shukri Muhammad GHANIM (since 14 June 2003)
cabinet: General People's Committee established by the General People's Congress
elections: national elections are indirect through a hierarchy of people's committees; head of government elected by the General People's Congress; election last held 2 March 2000 (next to be held NA)
election results: NA

Legislative branch:unicameral General People's Congress (NA seats; members elected indirectly through a hierarchy of people's committees)
Judicial branch:Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders:none
Political pressure groups and leaders:various Arab nationalist movements with almost negligible memberships may be functioning clandestinely, as well as some Islamic elements; an anti-QADHAFI Libyan exile movement exists, primarily based in London, but has little influence
International organization participation:ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, CAEU, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer), WToO
Flag description:plain green; green is the traditional color of Islam (the state religion)
EconomyTop
Economy - overview:The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contribute practically all export earnings and about one-quarter of GDP. These oil revenues and 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 four 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. Almost all US unilateral sanctions against Libya were removed in April 2004. 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 about 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.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $37.48 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:4.9% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $6,700 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 8.7%
industry: 45.7%
services: 45.6% (2004 est.)

Labor force:1.59 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 17%, industry 29%, services 54% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate:30% (2004)
Population below poverty line:NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices):2.9% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):9.9% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $13.52 billion
expenditures: $12.23 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.6 billion (2004 est.)

Public debt:8.8% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle
Industries:petroleum, iron and steel, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement
Industrial production growth rate:NA
Electricity - production:20.89 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:19.43 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:1.518 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:216,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Oil - proved reserves:38 billion bbl (2004 est.)
Natural gas - production:6.18 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:5.41 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:770 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:1.321 trillion cu m (2004)
Current account balance:$9.895 billion (2004 est.)
Exports:$18.65 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas
Exports - partners:Italy 37.7%, Germany 16.7%, Spain 11.6%, Turkey 7.5%, France 6.5% (2004)
Imports:$7.224 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:machinery, transport equipment, semi-finished goods, food, consumer products (1999)
Imports - partners:Italy 28.2%, Germany 11.1%, Tunisia 6%, UK 5.8%, Turkey 5%, France 4.1% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$24.18 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$4.069 billion (2004 est.)
Currency (code):Libyan dinar (LYD)
Currency code:LYD
Exchange rates:Libyan dinars per US dollar - 1.305 (2004), 1.2929 (2003), 1.2707 (2002), 0.6051 (2001), 0.5122 (2000)
Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:750,000 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:100,000 (2003)
Telephone system:general assessment: telecommunications system is being modernized; mobile cellular telephone system became operational in 1996
domestic: microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, cellular, tropospheric scatter, and a domestic satellite system with 14 earth stations
international: country code - 218; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat, NA Arabsat, and NA Intersputnik; submarine cables to France and Italy; microwave radio relay to Tunisia and Egypt; tropospheric scatter to Greece; participant in Medarabtel (1999)

Radio broadcast stations:AM 16, FM 3, shortwave 3 (2002)
Radios:1.35 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:12 (plus one low-power repeater) (1999)
Televisions:730,000 (1997)
Internet country code:.ly
Internet hosts:67 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):1 (2002)
Internet users:160,000 (2003)
TransportationTop
Railways:0 km
note: Libya is working on 7 lines totaling 2,757 km of 1.435-m gauge track; it hopes to have trains running by 2008 (2004)

Highways:total: 83,200 km
paved: 47,590 km
unpaved: 35,610 km (1999 est.)

Pipelines:condensate 225 km; gas 3,611 km; oil 7,252 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:As Sidrah, Az Zuwaytinah, Marsa al Burayqah, Ra's Lanuf, Tripoli, Zawiyah
Merchant marine:total: 17 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 129,627 GRT/105,110 DWT
by type: cargo 7, liquefied gas 3, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 4
foreign-owned: 1 (Algeria 1) (2005)

Airports:139 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 59
over 3,047 m: 23
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 2 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 80
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 41
under 914 m: 18 (2004 est.)

Heliports:1 (2004 est.)
MilitaryTop
Military branches:Armed Peoples on Duty (Army), Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Command
Military manpower - military age and obligation:17 years of age (2004)
Military manpower - availability:males age 17-49: 1,505,675 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 17-49: 1,291,624 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 62,034 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$1.3 billion (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:3.9% (FY99)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:Libya has claimed more than 32,000 sq km in southeastern Algeria and about 25,000 sq km in Niger in currently dormant disputes; various Chadian rebels from the Aozou region reside in southern Libya



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