In early 2021, Libyan politicians agreed on terms for a national unity government bringing together what had been two administrations in Tripoli and Tobruk. The accord was another step toward lasting stability following the October 2020 ceasefire between the two rival militaries. Unifying national institutions is taking time, however, and several possible pitfalls lie ahead. Through research and advocacy, Crisis Group aims to keep the national unity agreement intact and the various associated processes on track, encouraging dialogue among Libyans and vigorous engagement on the part of the UN and external powers with influence in the country.

CrisisWatch Libya

Unchanged Situation

Amid poor economic outlook and stalled political process, new feud emerged about currency depreciation. 

Political process remained deadlocked despite nominal pledges to unify country. During meeting in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, foreign ministers of member countries of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) 3 March expressed “support for the efforts of the United Nations to reach a political solution, hold elections and unify state institutions” in Libya. Libya’s Parliament Speaker Aghela Saleh, head of Presidential Council Mohamed Mnefi, and head of Tripoli-based High State Council Mohamed Tekkala 10 March met in Egypt’s capital Cairo under Arab League aegis, agreed to form “technical committee” to resolve contentious points of electoral legislation. Despite pledges to break deadlockUN envoy’s efforts to resolve disagreements in draft electoral laws and address contentious issue of appointing new interim government stalled. 

Move to depreciate currency sparked political recriminations. In wake of rising foreign currency exchange rate on black market, Parliament speaker Aghila Saleh 14 March issued decree imposing 27% tax (labelled as fee) on foreign currency exchange, stating this was a means to raise money for “development projects and debt”. Move faced opposition in parliament, with deputy parliament speaker Fawzi Nuweiri 15 March declaring he opposed what amounts to devaluation of currency. In televised speech PM Abdul Dabaiba 18 March also rejected proposed tax on foreign currency exchange, claiming that Libya’s economy is strong with a surplus, low inflation, and high foreign reserves; accused Central Bank of mismanagement and blamed Speaker of Parliament for trying to cover costs of Khalifa Haftar’s spending in eastern Libya through tax. Central Bank 19 March, however, ordered banks to comply with imposition of tax on foreign currency purchases.

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In The News

13 sep 2023
[The] disaster that has hit Derna has really brought together the country, the people [of Libya], most importantly. The Washington Post

Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
12 jan 2023
There is a need for the UN envoy to play a more proactive role in coordinating international positions and putting pressure on Libyan actors to move the situation forward... Atalayar

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa

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Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
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