[Country map of Libya]



Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Tunisia

Map references: Africa

total area: 1,759,540 sq km
land area: 1,759,540 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Alaska

Land boundaries: total 4,383 km, Algeria 982 km, Chad 1,055 km, Egypt 1,150 km, Niger 354 km, Sudan 383 km, Tunisia 459 km

Coastline: 1,770 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
Gulf of Sidra closing line: 32 degrees 30 minutes north

International disputes: the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in February 1994 that the 100,000 sq km Aozou Strip between Chad and Libya belongs to Chad, and that Libya must withdraw from it by 31 May 1994; Libya has withdrawn some its forces in response to the ICJ ruling, but still maintains an airfield in the disputed area; maritime boundary dispute with Tunisia; claims part of northern Niger and part of southeastern Algeria

Climate: Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior

Terrain: mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, gypsum

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 8%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 90%

Irrigated land: 2,420 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: desertification; very limited natural fresh water resources; the Great Manmade River Project, the largest water development scheme in the world, is being built to bring water from large aquifers under the Sahara to coastal cities
natural hazards: hot, dry, dust-laden ghibli is a southern wind lasting one to four days in spring and fall; duststorms, sandstorms
international agreements: party to - Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea


Population: 5,248,401 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 48% (female 1,226,851; male 1,269,813)
15-64 years: 49% (female 1,261,424; male 1,331,093)
65 years and over: 3% (female 76,017; male 83,203) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.7% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 44.89 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 7.91 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 61.4 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 64.29 years
male: 62.12 years
female: 66.57 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.32 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Libyan(s)
adjective: Libyan

Ethnic divisions: Berber and Arab 97%, Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, Tunisians

Religions: Sunni Muslim 97%

Languages: Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1984)
total population: 60%
male: 77%
female: 42%

Labor force: 1 million (includes about 280,000 resident foreigners)
by occupation: industry 31%, services 27%, government 24%, agriculture 18%


conventional long form: Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
conventional short form: Libya
local long form: Al Jumahiriyah al Arabiyah al Libiyah ash Shabiyah al Ishirakiyah
local short form: none

Digraph: LY

Type: Jamahiriya (a state of the masses) in theory, governed by the populace through local councils; in fact, a military dictatorship

Capital: Tripoli

Administrative divisions: 25 municipalities (baladiyah, singular - baladiyat); Ajdabiya, Al 'Aziziyah, Al Fatih, Al Jabal al Akhdar, Al Jufrah, Al Khums, Al Kufrah, An Nuqat al Khams, Ash Shati', Awbari, Az Zawiyah, Banghazi, Darnah, Ghadamis, Gharyan, Misratah, Murzuq, Sabha, Sawfajjin, Surt, Tarabulus, Tarhunah, Tubruq, Yafran, Zlitan

Independence: 24 December 1951 (from Italy)

National holiday: Revolution Day, 1 September (1969)

Constitution: 11 December 1969, amended 2 March 1977

Legal system: based on Italian civil law system and Islamic law; separate religious courts; no constitutional provision for judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: Revolutionary Leader Col. Mu'ammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI (since 1 September 1969)
head of government: Chairman of the General People's Committee (Premier) Abd al Majid al-Qa'ud (since 29 January 1994)
cabinet: General People's Committee; established by the General People's Congress
note: national elections are indirect through a hierarchy of peoples' committees

Legislative branch: unicameral
General People's Congress: national elections are indirect through a hierarchy of peoples' committees

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: none

Other political or pressure groups: various Arab nationalist movements with almost negligible memberships may be functioning clandestinely, as well as some Islamic elements


Diplomatic representation in US: none

US diplomatic representation: none

Flag: plain green; green is the traditional color of Islam (the state religion)


Overview: The socialist-oriented economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contributes practically all export earnings and about one-third of GDP. In 1990 per capita GDP was the highest in Africa at $5,410, but GDP growth rates have slowed and fluctuated sharply in response to changes in the world oil market. Import restrictions and inefficient resource allocations have led to periodic shortages of basic goods and foodstuffs. Windfall revenues from the hike in world oil prices in late 1990 improved the foreign payments position and resulted in a current account surplus through 1992. The nonoil manufacturing and construction sectors, which account for about 20% of GDP, have expanded from processing mostly agricultural products to include petrochemicals, iron, steel, and aluminum. Although agriculture accounts for only 5% of GDP, it employs 18% of the labor force. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit farm output, and Libya imports about 75% of its food requirements. The UN sanctions imposed in April 1992 have not yet had a major impact on the economy because Libya's oil revenues generate sufficient foreign exchange which sustains imports of food, consumer goods, and equipment for the oil industry and ongoing development projects.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $32.9 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: -0.9% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $6,510 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 25% (1993 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $8.1 billion
expenditures: $9.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.1 billion (1989 est.)

Exports: $7.2 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas
partners: Italy, Germany, Spain, France, UK, Turkey, Greece, Egypt

Imports: $6.9 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: machinery, transport equipment, food, manufactured goods
partners: Italy, Germany, UK, France, Spain, Turkey, Tunisia, Eastern Europe

External debt: $3.5 billion excluding military debt (1991 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 10.5% (1990)

capacity: 4,600,000 kW
production: 16.1 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 3,078 kWh (1993)

Industries: petroleum, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement

Agriculture: 5% of GDP; cash crops - wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus fruits, peanuts; 75% of food is imported

Economic aid:
recipient: Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $242 million
note: no longer a recipient

Currency: 1 Libyan dinar (LD) = 1,000 dirhams

Exchange rates: Libyan dinars (LD) per US$1 - 0.3555 (January 1995), 0.3596 (1994), 0.3250 (1993), 0.3013 (1992), 0.2684 (1991), 0.2699 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


note: Libya has had no railroad in operation since 1965, all previous systems having been dismantled; current plans are to construct a 1.435-m standard gauge line from the Tunisian frontier to Tripoli and Misratah, then inland to Sabha, center of a mineral-rich area, but there has been no progress; other plans made jointly with Egypt would establish a rail line from As Sallum, Egypt, to Tobruk with completion set for mid-1994; no progress has been reported

total: 19,300 km
paved: bituminous 10,800 km
unpaved: gravel, earth 8,500 km

Inland waterways: none

Pipelines: crude oil 4,383 km; petroleum products 443 km (includes liquified petroleum gas 256 km); natural gas 1,947 km

Ports: Al Khums, Banghazi, Darnah, Marsa al Burayqah, Misratah, Ra's Lanuf, Tobruk, Tripoli, Zuwarah

Merchant marine:
total: 30 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 686,136 GRT/1,208,194 DWT
ships by type: cargo 10, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas tanker 2, oil tanker 10, roll-on/roll-off cargo 3, short-sea passenger 4

total: 146
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 24
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 22
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 6
with paved runways under 914 m: 21
with unpaved runways over 3,047 m: 4
with unpaved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 17
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 44


Telephone system: 370,000 telephones; modern telecommunications system
local: NA
intercity: microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, tropospheric scatter, and 14 domestic satellites
international: 2 INTELSAT (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) satellite earth stations; submarine cables to France and Italy; microwave radio relay to Tunisia and Egypt; tropospheric scatter to Greece; planned ARABSAT and Intersputnik satellite earth stations

broadcast stations: AM 17, FM 3, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 12
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Armed Peoples of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah (includes Army, Navy, and Air and Air Defense Command), Police

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 1,131,175; males fit for military service 672,571; males reach military age (17) annually 54,676 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $1.4 billion, 6.1% of GDP (1994 est.)