Libya – Stability needs to be rewarded!

Libya is a country in chaos, with a civil war raging in some parts of it. Several regions are virtually inaccessible for foreigners, many cities are the scene of frequent fighting between militias, while others are ruled by criminal gangs.

But there are exceptions. Most of northern Cyrenaica, Jabal Nafusah mountains in Tripolitania, the city of Misrata and some other regions are by and large stable. In theory, a rather normal life would be possible there.

Misrata, a harbor town with a population of about 280,000, was one of the cities suffering most under Gaddafi’s forces during Libya’s revolution. Thereafter its fighters did not always play a positive role (e.g. committing the Gharghur massacre in Tripoli in November 2013, where more than 40 civilians were killed and hundreds wounded, or in preventing refugees from neighboring Tawergha from returning home). In 2016, the Islamic State was defeated in its stronghold Sirte by Operation Bunyan al Marsoos, a military alliance led by Misrata (and not by the Government of National Accord (GNA), as claimed by some). Almost one thousand of the cities’ bravest were killed, about 5,000 wounded.

Today, the situation in Misrata is widely calm and stable, although every now and then, the Islamic State conducts a terrorist attack. In contrary to many other Libyan cities there is no fighting between militias and crime is under control. The city is governed by a local council which was elected in democratic elections.

Misrata is a commercial hub since centuries. Misrata Free Zone (MFZ) was the first free-trade economic zone established in Libya in accordance with Law No. 9/2000. Under the direct authority of the Ministry of Economy of the GNA, such a Zone can act independently in setting up companies, signing agreements, etc. as long as it doesn't contradict with state laws, and national security interests (see Article. 5 of Law 9/2000 and Implementing Regulations of Law No. 9. Article 39 and 40).

However, the Revolution brought the development of the Zone to a halt. It was looted. Thereafter only limited progress was achieved until earlier this year.