Weekly Digest – Libya (09th March 2021)

Weekly Highlights

  • Libya misses the first chance at Covid-19 vaccine due to committee incompetence
  • Dbeibah submits 27-minister cabinet for Libyan HoR vote of confidence
  • French court awards NOC 132 million dollars in a case against Emirati LERCO
  • 37 million dollars’ worth of Cannabis seized en-route to Libya
  • NCHRL welcomes release of 70 migrants in Bani Walid

Currency Exchange:

  • Bank exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 4.5124
  • Black market exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 5.16

Libya misses the first chance at Covid-19 vaccine due to committee incompetence

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced this week that Libya missed out on the first round of COVAX vaccines due to missing the deadline of submission on the required documents.  In a statement, WHO said that Libya also continues to face an acute shortage of medical supplies, particularly gloves and masks and arranged for the required equipment to be shipped out to the oil-rich country as soon as possible.  The statement also added a request from the international organization for Libya to consider covering the costs of vaccinating the over half-million migrants and refugees in the country.  WHO also endorsed the outgoing Government of National Accord’s national vaccination plan and urged concerned parties to expedite the process as numbers in Libya continue to rise day by day.  LIBYAN EXPRESS

Dbeibah submits 27-minister cabinet for Libyan HoR vote of confidence

The media office of the yet-to-be-approved Government of National Unity (GNU) said the Prime Minister-elect Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah submitted a cabinet of 27 ministerial portfolios, 2 deputy prime ministers and 6 state ministers to be endorsed by the House of Representatives (HoR) in a Monday session in Sirte.  “We have balanced the cabinet formation between qualifications and geographical involvement, so it represents all Libyans, taking into account the previous conflicts that left many Libyans feeling marginalized over the past years”. Dbeibah said on Twitter.  LIBYA OBSERVER

French court awards NOC 132 million dollars in a case against Emirati LERCO

The Paris Court of Appeals announced that Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) is the winner of an arbitration case against the Libyan Emirates Oil Refining Company (LERCO) in regard to the Ras Lanuf Refinery.  In an official statement on their website, the NOC said that the Paris Court of appeals has awarded them over 115 million US dollars plus interest, which accumulates to over 132 million dollars.  The court also upheld the tribunal’s decision confirming LERCO’s ongoing contractual take-or-pay obligation and ordered LERCO to pay 100,000 euros in costs of the Paris court proceeding.  Chairman of the NOC, Sanalla commented on the case by reaffirming that the NOC is the trusted guardian of Libya’s oil wealth and will do everything in its power to protect the Libyan people’s oil and gas wealth.  LIBYAN EXPRESS

37 million dollars’ worth of Cannabis seized en-route to Libya

Niger’s anti-drugs trafficking agency reported that they have seized a record-breaking shipment of cannabis worth 37 million dollars on its way to Libya.  The shipment was estimated to weigh around 17 tonnes and originated from Lebanon.  A speaker for the agency said that the traffickers had planned to transport the drugs in trucks using the desert town of Agadez, an area notoriously known for being a hub for smugglers and human traffickers.  He added that 11 Nigerians and two Algerians were arrested in connection with the case.  It is the largest cannabis seizure in Niger’s history and the first shipment of drugs known to have come from Lebanon.   LIBYAN EXPRESS

NCHRL welcomes release of 70 migrants in Bani Walid

The National Commission for Human Rights in Libya (NCHRL) has welcomed and praised the security operation carried out successfully by the 444th Brigade on Friday in the city of Bani Walid, which resulted in the liberation of at least 70 migrants, along with the arrest of a number of human traffickers accused of detaining them.  In a statement, the NCHRL stressed the significance of fighting organized crime gangs, particularly those involved in human trafficking and migrant smuggling.  They reiterated that the tracing of the human smuggler networks was paramount in order to subvert and prosecute those responsible within the organized gangs in Libya and in the western region in particular.  LIBYA OBSERVER


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 (07th March 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.

Egypt backs deal for withdrawal of foreign troops from Libya

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry yesterday discussed in Cairo the latest developments in Libya with UN Secretary-General Special Envoy for Libya Jan Kubis.

The spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, Ahmed Hafez, said on Twitter that Shoukry and Kubis discussed developments of the Libyan crisis and ways to reach a political solution that preserves the unity of the country and the rights of its people.  During the meeting, Egypt’s foreign minister stressed the need to rid the country of mercenaries and foreign forces, while reiterating his country’s support for the new Libyan government.

Last month, Egyptian authorities announced the resumption of flights to Libya, after a break of more than a year, according to local media. This came in conjunction with a visit made by the new Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh to Cairo, during which he held talks with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.  Last year, Libya’s eastern-based parliament called for Egypt’s direct military intervention to counter Turkey’s backing of the internationally recognised government in Tripoli.  Egypt has carried out numerous military sorties in Libya over the years and in June last year threatened to intervene militarily in neighbouring if Turkish-backed forces captured Sirte, a strategic port and gateway to important oil terminals.

Russia’s Wagner Group’s presence in Africa goes beyond Libya

Known for its heavy presence in war-torn Libya, the Russian security company Wagner Group is reportedly expanding throughout the African continent, meddling in conflicts and working in favour of the Kremlin’s interests.

Formed back in 2014 in Ukraine and owned by businessperson Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner Group is intensely involved in several conflicts not only in Ukraine but also across the world, from the Middle East to Latin America. The most well-known presence of the group, however, has taken place in Syria and Libya, where Russia has actively participated in the civil war and reportedly used the Wagner Group as its proxy in the region. Although Russia officially does not acknowledge any cooperation with the Wagner Group, the reports from the field prove otherwise.

Lately, the locations where Wagner’s presence has been reported expanded from Libya to (almost) the entire African continent, where the group is reportedly not only involved in the conflicts by training armies but also operates mining and cybersecurity companies.  Some of the African countries that reportedly have a Wagner presence are Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR), Zimbabwe, Angola, Madagascar, Sudan, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, and (most probably) the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Libya’s prime minister-designate has submitted a proposed government line-up to parliament for approval, his office said, a key step towards unifying the country that descended into chaos after long-term leader Muammar Gaddafi was removed in 2011.  “In accordance with the roadmap of the political agreement, [Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah] handed over to the speaker of elected parliament his proposals for ministerial portfolios,” his office said in a statement on Thursday.  Dbeibah was selected in early February in a United Nations-sponsored inter-Libyan dialogue, the latest internationally backed bid to salvage the country from a decade of conflict and fragmented politics.  AL JAZEERA

The news from Libya does not bode well for the transfer of power from the current government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj to the new executive authority led by Abdel Hamid Dbeibah, which is supposed to manage the country’s affairs during the transitional phase that precedes general elections scheduled for December 24.  A new obstacle has begun to emerge, hindering a smooth transition that would allow Dbeibah’s to assume his role as head of government, to which he was elected February 5.  One of the first indications of obstacles ahead was Sarraj’s decision to order members of his cabinet to not deal or communicate with the new executive authority, despite being aware that his government has become a caretaker one since Dbeibah’s election.  THE ARAB WEEKLY

The Government of National Accord’s Ministry of Interior announced that it will tighten security in the city of Sirte in preparation to host the parliament’s full quorum session to grant confidence to Libya’s incoming Government of National Unity.  “The plan includes a high-security alert and raising the degree of readiness via deploying security members in the vicinity of the Parliament building,” A statement by the Ministry read.  The statement also added that thousands of policemen will be stationed in the area of the meeting as well as in major streets of the city to protect members of the parliament and provide a secure environment for the important session.  Speaker of the House Aguila Saleh said, “Parliament will convene to discuss a vote of confidence on the government on Monday, 8 March at 11 am in Sirte if the 5+5 Joint Military Committee (JMC) guarantees the security of the meeting.”  LIBYAN EXPRESS

Chairman of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanallah Wednesday, discussed with the German ambassador to Libya, Oliver Owcza, preparations for holding a forum convening German companies and the NOC during the coming period.  The two parties discussed ways to develop cooperation between the NOC and German companies in the oil and gas field.  For his part, the German ambassador expressed his gratitude for the NOC’s efforts to maintain production rates and to support Libya’s economy despite the circumstances and challenges the country is experiencing.  The German ambassador was accompanied during the meeting by the deputy head of the German mission, the political secretary of the German embassy, ​​the head of the development cooperation mission, and the security advisor at the German embassy, according to a statement by the NOC.  LIBYA OBSERVER