Libya expects nearly $2 bln in new FDI: official

Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:29am GMT
 

By Carolyn Cohn and Martina Fuchs

LONDON (Reuters) - Libya is expecting nearly $2 billion in new foreign direct investment, Libya's privatisation and investment secretary said on Thursday.

"We have over $2 billion operating in FDI in Libya and we have almost $2 billion in process," Mahmud al-Ftise told Reuters on the sidelines of a Libya investment conference in London, without giving a time frame for the investment.

"This number is humble but we are really relaxed because the numbers are increasing. Libya has very big potential."

Libya is also working on attracting investment totalling around $2.7 billion in the downstream oil industry, al-Ftise added.

International investors see huge untapped potential for growth in the North African country, which was starved of investment during years of Socialist policies and international sanctions.

Libya's relations with the West took a leap forward in 2003 when it gave up banned weapons programmes and again last year when it agreed with the United States to settle compensation claims for attacks, including the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing.

Gaddafi's foreign-educated son, Saif al-Islam, has helped push through economic reform measures, and the capital is now dotted with construction cranes building new hotels and business centres.

But some investors' enthusiasm has been tempered by red-tape, a creaking bureaucracy and uncertainty over how well protected property rights are in Libya.   Continued...

<p>U.S. dollar notes after counting at a bank in Seoul, South Korea, October 22, 2008. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won</p>

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