Nov 24 (Reuters) - Oil exporter Libya spends an increasing amount of money on aid and investment in Africa, a policy diplomats and analysts say is enhancing its diplomatic clout on the continent. For the story, click on [ID:nLDE6AH1S8]
Below are excerpts from an interview which Mohammed Syala, the Secretary of Cooperation Affairs at the Libyan foreign ministry, gave to Reuters.
Libyan policy in the African continent is built firstly on supporting the completion of the African Union’s institutions and the establishment of all the institutions related to the African Union, particularly the economic institutions. Libyan policy supports African countries, participates in their development, finds job opportunities for African ... labour, and alleviates illegal immigration through finding job opportunities on the African continent. In this way Libya acts through investment, which is based on economic partnership and on fighting exploitation and monopoly.
Yes, for sure Libya is a big contributor. In one of the African summits that was held in the (Libyan) city of Sirte, it was agreed that five countries which have economic sources would bear 75 percent of the African Union budget. These five countries are Libya, Algeria, Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa. In the meantime, the remaining countries would bear the remaining ... 25 percent.
The motivation of Libya’s assistance to African countries is to help in the development of these countries and to achieve African identity and Libya’s identity as part of the African continent, as well as to assist these countries in realising development, in the sense that their economic resources do not allow them to achieve development.
DOES LIBYA WANT TO HELP AFRICA SHAKE OFF WESTERN INFLUENCE? The issue of Western influence is up to the sovereignty of the countries. But I think that with Libyan assistance and ... economic partnership, Libya gives another example to these countries and gives them an opportunity to control their economic resources and natural resources in a better way, away from the influence of exploitation and monopoly.
The increase of Libyan diplomacy in Africa is due to Libya’s conviction about its African identity and its continued effort in supporting the African Union. Libyan bureaux (embassies) are not only for diplomatic work but also economic activities, investment, aid offered by Libyan funds ... And there is the Green Programme. Libya makes farm tractors and agricultural activities available, for free, to increase food production.
CAN MUAMMAR GADDAFI’S DREAM OF A UNITED AFRICA BE ACHIEVED?
Certainly, there are leaderships who are convinced, while there are countries which are not convinced yet, but time will prove that the strategic vision of Gaddafi is correct. These countries will be convinced of the necessity of establishing the African Union just as unions were established in other spaces, and it is the true way to build the continent and achieve its development. (Reporting by Salah Sarrar; Writing by by Christian Lowe; Editing by Samia Nakhoul)