Weekly Digest – Libya (30th March 2021)

Weekly Highlights

  • Libya’s Covid alert moves from 3 to 4
  • UN: Libya facing acute water and power crisis ahead of summer
  • Libya’s PM meets with France, Italy and Germany’s Foreign Ministers in Tripoli
  • Revamping Libya’s oil sector is Govt’s top priority in new budget
  • 483 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast, says UN agency

Currency Exchange:

  • Bank exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 4.5363
  • Black market exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 5.04

Libya’s Covid alert moves from 3 to 4

The Scientific Advisory Committee for tackling the Coronavirus Pandemic has upgraded the Covid emergency alert level from (3) to (4), which means that transmission is high or rising exponentially.  During its weekly consultative meeting with the Epidemiology Committee, the Scientific Advisory Committee warned that the epidemiological situation had escalated to 51 points while the daily Covid death toll is on the rise.  Further restrictions were recommended in response to the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically in areas with high infection rates including, the capital Tripoli, the Western Mountain Region, the coastal cities from Zawiya to Zuwara Misrata, Tobruk, and the south. LIBYA OBSERVER

UN: Libya facing acute water and power crisis ahead of summer

Libya is facing an “acute” shortage of electricity as it braces for skyrocketing temperatures in the summer, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s special envoy warned on Wednesday.  The threats are compounded by immediate risks to the North African country’s water supply that are imperiling the lives of millions, Jan Kubis told the Security Council.  “Over 4 million people, including 1.5 million children, may face being denied clean water and sanitation if immediate solutions are not found and implemented,” said Kubis.  Libya has been beset by conflict since former longtime strongman Muammar Qaddafi was overthrown in 2011 amid a mass revolt supported by NATO operations.  LIBYAN EXPRESS

Libya’s PM meets with France, Italy and Germany’s Foreign Ministers in Tripoli

The Libyan Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity (GNU), Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah, met with the visiting Foreign Ministers of France, Italy and Germany in Tripoli in the presence of the Foreign Minister, Najla Al-Mangoush.  The German foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and the French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, arrived in Tripoli on Thursday and held a press conference with Al-Mangoush before meeting Dbeibah.  According to the media office of the GNU, the European officials congratulated Dbeibha and all Libyans on starting the implementation of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum’s roadmap and ending division by a united executive authority across Libya.  LIBYA OBSERVER

Revamping Libya’s oil sector is Govt’s top priority in new budget

Libya’s state oil producer is set to get the biggest portion of development spending in the country’s new budget, potentially aiding plans to raise output as the industry recovers from a decade of civil war.  National Oil Corp. is allocated 7 billion dinars ($1.6 billion) in 2021, about a third of the total granted to development projects in the draft budget, a copy of which was seen by Bloomberg. The spending plan is the first from the country’s unified government, which was approved by lawmakers earlier this month.  Supporting NOC projects must be a priority “given what the firm had to face over the past years, from financial difficulties, military confrontation and oil shutdowns,” according to the draft budget.  ENERGY MIX REPORT

483 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast, says UN agency

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Sunday that 483 illegal migrants had been rescued off Libya’s western coast.  The UN migration agency said the illegal migrants were rescued in two separate operations by the Libyan Coast Guard.  “While IOM teams were there to provide emergency assistance, including medical support, we maintain that Libya is not a safe port,” it said.  The agency estimated that more than 4,500 illegal migrants were intercepted or rescued so far this year off Libyan coast and ended up in arbitrary detention.  THE NEWS


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 (28th 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.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Libya due to COVID-19.   

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.

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.

Libya demands ‘immediate’ withdrawal of foreign fighters

Libya’s new unity government on Thursday called for the “immediate” withdrawal of all foreign mercenaries, in a call backed by the visiting top diplomats of France, Germany, and Italy.

“We reiterate the need for the departure of all mercenaries from Libya, and immediately,” Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush said at a news conference in Tripoli, joined by her French, German and Italian counterparts.  French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian echoed her call, saying that the “departure of the mercenaries is essential for the Libyan state to assert its sovereignty”.

The three European ministers were in Tripoli in a show of support for the newly formed Government of National Unity (GNU).  “We represent the EU’s support for Libya as it moves towards peace,” said Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.  “We reiterated the importance of maintaining the ceasefire, the reopening of the coastal road and the departure of mercenaries.”

France announces reopening embassy in Libya

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Tuesday (23rd) that his country would reopen its embassy in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, next Monday.

“From Monday, our embassy in Tripoli will be reopened and our ambassador will be able to return to your country,” conveyed Macron to President of the Libyan Presidential Council Mohamed Al-Menfi, in Paris.

In 2014, the French diplomatic mission office in Libya closed, although it remained active.  Macron stated: “France’s support will not be merely verbal. It will be full support,” adding that France owes: “A debt to Libya and the Libyans, which is a decade of disorder.”

Oil-rich Libya has been plunged into chaos since Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow and his death in 2011 in a NATO-backed uprising, which led to a multi-power struggle.  A unified transitional authority in Libya emerged from a United Nations (UN)-sponsored peace process launched in November in Tunis, which was voted on in Geneva and approved by Libya’s parliament on 10 March.

On Tuesday, the alternative government in eastern Libya handed over power to the new national unity government led by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, a week after the latter officially took office.  Macron confirmed that he would meet Dbeibeh soon.


Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday received the chairman of Libya’s Presidential Council in Istanbul.  The meeting between Erdogan and Mohammad Younes Menfi at the Vahdettin Mansion lasted around two hours.  Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin were also present at the meeting, which was attended by Libyan council member Abdullah Hussein Al-Lafi, as well as an accompanying delegation, from the North African nation.  This was the first official visit to Turkey by the members of the Libyan council after taking their post earlier this month.  LIBYAN EXPRESS

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the new Libyan Government of National Unity, Najla al-Mangoush, held a joint press conference yesterday with the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, and Italy during their joint visit to Tripoli.  In her speech, Mangoush praised the visit of the European delegation and its message of support to the new Libyan government as a result of the outcomes of the Roadmap agreed by the UNSMIL-brokered Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF).  Mangoush stressed the principle of national sovereignty, which she said was a non-negotiable principle for her government and included the need for foreign mercenaries to leave Libyan territory.  LIBYA HERALD

The EU has decided that the designation of Khalifa Ghwell will not be maintained when the EU’s sanctions regime on Libya is renewed on 2 April 2021.  Mr Ghwell, who was listed in 2016, is the former Prime Minister and Defence Minister of the General National Congress of Libya, which is not internationally recognised.  The press release states that EU sanctions intend to “bring about a change in policy or activity by entities and individuals responsible for malign behaviour” and that “delisting is appropriate whenever the criteria for listing are no longer met”.  EU SANCTIONS

The Chairman of the High National Elections Commission (HNEC), Imad Al-Sayeh discussed Thursday with the UK ambassador to Libya, Nicholas Hopton, latest developments in the electoral process in Libya, and the HNEC’s preparations and the level of its readiness to hold the elections.  During the meeting, the two sides also reviewed ways of support that the UK will provide to Libya in the field of managing and implementing the elections.  On the side-lines of the meeting, the UK signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to support the “People” project, which aims to support the HNEC to hold the elections.  LIBYA OBSERVER

The U.S. will reopen its embassy in Tripoli ‘‘as soon as the security situation permits’’, it was revealed on Tuesday.  The revelation came from Jalina Porter Principal Deputy Spokesperson during the U.S. State Department press briefing on Tuesday.  She was responding to a question from media on the back of France announcing on Tuesday that they were reopening their Tripoli on Monday 29 March.  She informed “We do have an ambassador to Libya who works in our embassy in Tunisia. And obviously, he travels to the region periodically for meetings, and our intent is to begin a process of resuming the U.S. embassy operations opening in Libya as soon as the security situation permits”.   LIBYA HERALD