Weekly Digest – Libya (19th January 2021)

Weekly Highlights

  • Libya to begin vaccinating against Covid-19 in May
  • Al-Sarraj urges CBL to facilitate imports of flour so Libya avoids “bread crisis”
  • UN Says Breakthrough Achieved in Libya Transition Talks
  • Maintenance to cost Libya loss of oil sales opportunities worth $165 million
  • Call for immediate migrant relocations from Libya to Italy
  • Currency Exchange:
    • Bank exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 4.483
    • Black market exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 5.44

Libya to begin vaccinating against Covid-19 in May

The Director of Libya’s National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Badr Al-Din Al-Najjar announced that all preparations have been made to receive 2.8 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines.  Due to the protocol of vaccinating everyone twice to ensure the efficiency of the vaccine, the shipment received will be enough to vaccinate 1.4 million people in Libya.  Al-Najjar stated that the vaccines received will be supervised by the World Health Group (WHO) and added that there is no indication of the new strain of the virus that emerged in the UK late December of 20 had made its way to Libya.  He also added that the Covid-19 situation in Libya is relatively contained and calm when compared to European countries and the United States who are facing a much more rapidly spreading second wave of the virus.  LIBYAN EXPRESS

Al-Sarraj urges CBL to facilitate imports of flour so Libya avoids “bread crisis”

The Head of the Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, has urged the Central Bank of Libya to speed the process of granting letters of credit to import sufficient flour to cover the markets’ demand.  In a letter to the Central Bank of Libya’s Governor, Al-Sarraj warned that the Government of National Accord would have to interfere to save “the lives of citizens” and keep social security and safety in place by using the assets of Libyan Foreign Bank to import flour, saying the situation is now leading the country into a “food crisis”.  The general syndicate of bakers and bakeries in Tripoli shut down all bakeries in the city starting Saturday due to increased prices of bread ingredients.  LIBYA OBSERVER

UN Says Breakthrough Achieved in Libya Transition Talks

The top U.N. official for Libya said Saturday that an advisory committee for representatives of Libya’s different regions has proposed a way forward for choosing a transitional government that would lead the war-torn country to elections late this year.  The talks in Geneva, structured around the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, have been taking place amid a heavy international push to reach a peaceful settlement to Libya’s civil war. Previous diplomatic initiatives have all collapsed.  U.N. acting envoy for Libya Stephanie Williams told a news conference in Geneva that the advisory committee’s members “have met their responsibility with a constructive spirit, cooperative efforts, and a great deal of patriotism.”  VOA NEWS

Maintenance to cost Libya loss of oil sales opportunities worth $165 million

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) said Sunday that Waha Oil Company would start the necessary repair of the main crude oil pipeline connecting Samah, Dahra fields to Esseder Terminal, thus its production would be reduced by 200,000 barrels per day, saying that the pipeline is in a situation that cannot continue operating due to the large number of leaks and its dilapidated condition because of lack of budgets that guarantee the integrity of the NOC’s assets.  NOC added in a statement that the lack of budgets to maintain the assets of the NOC has led to reducing oil production, adding that this is the responsibility of the parties that obstruct the monetization of budgets, which will cost the Treasury the loss of sales opportunities in excess of $165 million.  LIBYA OBSERVER

Call for immediate migrant relocations from Libya to Italy

Several humanitarian organizations have sent an appeal to Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese. They want her to immediately allow church charities to carry out five flights to evacuate vulnerable migrants from Libya to Italy.  In a letter released on January 12, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have asked Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese to immediately grant permission to church charities to carry out five migrant evacuation flights from Libya to Italy.  INFOMIGRANTS


List of holidays in Libya 2021

17 FebWednesdayLibyan Revolution DayPublic Holiday
1 MaySaturdayMay DayPublic Holiday
13 MayThursdayEid al-FitrPublic Holiday
14 MayFridayEid al-Fitr HolidayPublic Holiday
15 MaySaturdayEid al-Fitr HolidayPublic Holiday
19 JulMondayDay of ArafahPublic Holiday
20 JulTuesdayEid al-AdhaPublic Holiday
21 JulWednesdayEid al-AdhaPublic Holiday
22 JulThursdayEid al-AdhaPublic Holiday
10 AugTuesdayMuharramPublic Holiday
16 SepThursdayMartyrs’ DayPublic Holiday
19 OctTuesdayThe Prophet’s BirthdayPublic Holiday
23 OctSaturdayLiberation DayPublic Holiday
24 DecFridayIndependence DayPublic Holiday

Exchange rates – Libyan Dinar

According to our most recent information (17th & 18th January 2021) the Libyan Dinar has the following exchange rates.

The exchange rate from your own bank or credit card company will differ somewhat from the exchange rates as mentioned above. Your bank or credit card company might also apply additional international charges.


Do not travel to Libya due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

Crime levels in Libya remain high, including the threat of kidnapping for ransom. Westerners and U.S. citizens have been targets of these crimes.

Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Libya. Violent extremist activity in Libya remains high, and extremist groups have made threats against citizens. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, hotels, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.

Outbreaks of violence between competing armed groups can occur with little warning and have the potential to impact citizens. The capital, Tripoli, and other cities, such as Surman, Al-Jufra, Misrata, Ajdabiya, Benghazi, Sabha, and Dernah, have witnessed fighting among armed groups, as well as terrorist attacks. Hotels and airports frequented by Westerners have been the targets of these attacks. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

For the latest advice from the Libyan government, please visit the National Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) webpage at ncdc.org.ly/Ar/

If you decide to travel to Libya:

  • Carry proof of citizenship and valid immigration status at all times.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Make contingency plans to leave.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organisation or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization.

Mapping of 5,000 air and artillery strikes in Libya since 2012 published

NGO Airwars has yesterday released comprehensive mapping of more than 5,000 air and artillery strikes in Libya since 2012.  Air wars said the new data covers all known locally reported strikes to date, conducted by all parties to an on-and-off civil war that is currently on pause, after last year’s UN-brokered ceasefire deal. 

 It reported that the location of every claimed strike event in as much detail as possible has been researched for several months, placing the majority at least to neighbourhood level, and with many civilian harm events now including more exact locations.  The new strike data joins more than 230 reported civilian harm events in Libya since 2012 which are already published by Airwars.

The new maps visualise these incidents by civilian fatalities, militant fatalities, and strikes carried out by each belligerent. The maps are navigable by a histogram of the map data over time, to try to provide an overview of a particularly complex conflict.  It says the new interactive map enables users to explore the conflict in Libya and its impact on different regions of the country. 

Filters make it possible to see which faction bombed how much in which region; and who caused the most reported harm to civilians – revealing a clear correlation between the use of explosive weapons in urban areas and non-combatant deaths.  According to Airwars modelling of local claims, the Libya conflict from 2012 to date has claimed the lives of up to 1,100 civilians through air and artillery strikes. 

Libyan sides take step towards transitional government to end war

Libyan factions engaged in political talks arranged by the UN made progress towards agreeing to a new transitional government to oversee the run-up to elections in December, the international body said on Saturday.

Participants at the discussions in Geneva agreed on a mechanism for choosing the government, whose formation has been the subject of wrangling among the main factions in a country that is a major oil producer.  Acting UN envoy in Libya, Stephanie Williams, said the agreement represented the “best possible compromise” on the issue and could lead to the selection of a transitional government “in several weeks”.

However, she said there would still be “people seeking to obstruct” peace-making efforts. The talks are part of a wider peace process, after years of chaos and war, which also involves a ceasefire and an economic track.  Libya has been split since 2014 between rival factions in Tripoli, in the west, and Benghazi in the east.


The German ambassador to Libya, Oliver Owcza, announced the signing of a contribution of 400,000 euros in favour of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to support the High National Elections Commission (HNEC).  Owcza added on Twitter that the legal and organizational preparations must begin now in order to support the electoral roadmap, which was agreed upon by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF).  The Media Office of the HNEC indicated that the UNDP, along with the German government, signed an agreement to support the ‘People’s Project’, with the aim of contributing to the success of the elections scheduled for next December.  LIBYA OBSERVER

The EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) in Libya announced last Thursday (14 January) the appointment of Natalina Cea as the new Head of Mission.  She will take up her duties on 1 February 2021 succeeding Vincenzo Tagliaferri, who has been Head of Mission since 1 September 2016.  EUBAM reported that Natalina Cea is an Italian civil servant who has worked at a senior level for more than 20 years, both in Italy – as Director of the International Cooperation and Technical Assistance Office of the Italian Customs Administration and internationally, leading missions, programs and projects in the civilian security sector, particularly in the field of border management and related security and justice issues.  LIBYA HERALD

The U.N. Security Council has officially appointed former Slovak Foreign Minister Jan Kubis to lead the U.N. political mission in Libya, a post that has been vacant for nearly a year, diplomats said Friday night.  Kubis is currently the UN special coordinator for Lebanon. He has also served as the UN special envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq.  UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed that Kubis should replace Ghassan Salame, who quit the role in March last year citing stress amid rising conflict between Libya’s rival sides over the capital.  THE961

The Acting Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Stephanie Williams, announced Saturday that the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) members will vote on Monday on a selection mechanism for the interim executive authority.  In a press conference in Geneva, Williams said that the advisory committee of the LPDF has reached an agreement on a mechanism for selecting a temporary executive authority.  “It is important to reflect and to remind everyone that what we are talking about here is a temporary, unified executive authority that will be replaced by a permanent, democratically elected government, chosen by the Libyan people on December 24th of this year,” Williams said, noting that the voting process will take place remotely due to coronavirus related measures.  LIBYA OBSERVER

The head of Libya’s General Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mohamed Raeid, met Tunisia’s Prime Minister, the Central Bank Governor, a number of Tunisian Ministers as well as his Chamber of Commerce counterpart during a working visit to Tunisia on Wednesday (13 January).  Raeid is also a member of Libya’s parliament, the House of Representatives, for the city of Misrata.  The visit began with a meeting with Samir Majoul, President of the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts.  LIBYA HERALD