The World Factbook (1990)/Libya


World Factbook (1990) Libya.jpg

See regional map VII


Total area: 1,759,540 km²; land area: 1,759,540 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than Alaska

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

Coastline: 1,770 km

Maritime claims:

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Gulf of Sidra closing line: 32° 30′ N

Disputes: claims and occupies a small portion of the Aozou Strip in northern Chad; maritime boundary dispute with Tunisia; Libya claims about 19,400 km² in northern Niger; Libya claims about 19,400 km² in southeastern Algeria

Climate: Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior

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

Natural resources: crude oil, natural gas, gypsum

Land use: 1% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 8% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 91% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Environment: hot, dry, dust-laden ghibli is a southern wind lasting one to four days in spring and fall; desertification; sparse natural surface-water resources

Note: 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


Population: 4,221,141 (July 1990), growth rate 3.1% (1990)

Birth rate: 37 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 7 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 64 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 65 years male, 70 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 5.2 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Libyan(s); adjective—Libyan

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

Religion: 97% Sunni Muslim

Language: Arabic; Italian and English widely understood in major cities

Literacy: 50-60%

Labor force: 1,000,000; includes about 280,000 resident foreigners; 31% industry, 27% services, 24% government, 18% agriculture

Organized labor: National Trade Unions' Federation, 275,000 members; General Union for Oil and Petrochemicals; Pan-Africa Federation of Petroleum Energy and Allied Workers


Long-form name: Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

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: 46 municipalities (baladīyat, singular—baladīyah); Ajdābiyā, Al Abyār, Al ‘Azīzīyah, Al Bayḑā’, Al Jufrah, Al Jumayl, Al Khums, Al Kufrah, Al Marj, Al Qarābūllī, Al Qubbah, Al ‘Ujaylāt, Ash Shāţi’, Awbārī, Az Zahrā’, Az Zāwiyah, Banghāzī, Banī Walīd, Bin Jawwād, Darnah, Ghadāmis, Gharyān, Ghāt, Jādū, Jālū, Janzūr, Masallātah, Mişrātah, Mizdah, Murzuq, Nālūt, Qamīnis, Qaşr Bin Ghashīr, Sabhā, Şabrātah, Shaḩḩāt, Şurmān, Surt, Tājūrā’, Ţarābulus, Tarhūnah, Ţubruq, Tūkrah, Yafran, Zlītan, Zuwārah; note—the number of municipalities may have been reduced to 13 named Al Jabal al-Akhdar, Al Jabal al-Gharbi, Al Jabal al-Khums, Al Batnam, Al Kufrah, Al Marqab, Al Marzuq, Az Zāwiyah, Banghāzī, Khalij Surt, Sabhā, Tripoli, Wadi al-Hayat

Independence: 24 December 1951 (from Italy)

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

National holiday: Revolution Day, 1 September (1969)

Executive branch: revolutionary leader, chairman of the General People's Committee, General People's Committee (cabinet)

Legislative branch: unicameral General People's Congress

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: 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) ‘Umar Mustafa al-MUNTASIR (since 1 March 1987)

Political parties and leaders: none

Suffrage: universal and compulsory at age 18

Elections: national elections are indirect through a hierarchy of revolutionary committees

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 virtually all export earnings and over 50% to GNP. Since 1980, however, the sharp drop in oil prices and resulting decline in export revenues has adversely affected economic development. In 1986 per capita GNP was the highest in Africa at $5,410, but it had been $2,000 higher in 1982. Severe cutbacks in imports over the past five years have led to shortages of basic goods and foodstuffs, although the reopening of the Libyan-Tunisian border in April 1988 and the Libyan-Egyptian border in December 1989 have somewhat eased shortages. Austerity budgets and a lack of trained technicians have undermined the government's ability to implement a number of planned infrastructure development projects. The nonoil industrial and construction sectors, which account for about 15% of GNP, have expanded from processing mostly agricultural products to include petrochemicals, iron, steel, and aluminum. Although agriculture accounts for less than 5% of GNP, it employs 20% of the labor force. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit farm output, requiring Libya to import about 75% of its food requirements.

GNP: $20 billion, per capita $5,410; real growth rate 0% (1988 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 20% (1988 est.)

Unemployment rate: 2% (1988 est.)

Budget: revenues $6.4 billion; expenditures $11.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.6 billion (1986 est.)

Exports: $6.1 billion (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—petroleum, peanuts, hides; partners—Italy, USSR, FRG, Spain, France, Belgium/Luxembourg, Turkey

Imports: $5.0 billion (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—machinery, transport equipment, food, manufactured goods; partners—Italy, USSR, FRG, UK, Japan

External debt: $2.1 billion, excluding military debt (December 1988)

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

Electricity: 4,580,000 kW capacity; 13,360 million kWh produced, 3,270 kWh per capita (1989)

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

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

Aid: Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $242 million

Currency: Libyan dinar (plural—dinars); 1 Libyan dinar (LD) = 1,000 dirhams

Exchange rates: Libyan dinars (LD) per US$1—0.2896 (January 1990), 0.2922 (1989), 0.2853 (1988), 0.2706 (1987), 0.3139 (1986), 0.2961 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Highways: 32,500 km total; 24,000 km bituminous and bituminous treated, 8,500 km gravel, crushed stone and earth

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

Ports: Tobruk, Tripoli, Banghazi, Misratah, Marsa el Brega

Merchant marine: 30 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 816,546 GRT/1,454,874 DWT; includes 3 short-sea passenger, 11 cargo, 4 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 11 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 1 chemical tanker

Civil air: 59 major transport aircraft

Airports: 130 total, 122 usable; 53 with permanent-surface runways; 7 with runways over 3,659 m; 30 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 44 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: modern telecommunications system using radio relay, coaxial cable, tropospheric scatter, and domestic satellite stations; 370,000 telephones; stations—18 AM, 3 FM, 13 TV; satellite earth stations—1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT, 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT, and 14 domestic; submarine cables to France and Italy; radio relay to Tunisia; tropospheric scatter to Greece; planned ARABSAT and Intersputnik satellite stations

Defense Forces

Branches: Armed Forces of the Libyan Arab Jamahariya includes People's Defense (Army), Arab Air Force and Air Defense Command, Arab Navy

Military manpower: males 15-49, 991,368; 584,512 fit for military service; 50,379 reach military age (17) annually; conscription now being implemented

Defense expenditures: 11.1% of GNP (1987)