Life After the Revolution
Libya's Social, Economic, and Political Issues
Within the past 30 years, Libya has seen shocking tragedy and sadness; during the first 6 months of its civil war following the 2011 revolution it is estimated that at least 30,000 people were killed and 50,000 injured. Incited by the Arab Spring Revolution that took place in mid-February of 2011, Libya has undergone significant social, economic, and political change over the past two decades; unfortunately, Libya still faces significant issues, mainly in the realm of national political stability, instability of the financial sector, and poverty. These issues requires a strong cooperative effort with the international community in order to empower Libya to regain economic and political stability.
Libya experienced an oppressive, authoritarian regime under the control of Colonel Gaddafi as their de-facto leader for 42 years. After the civil uprising known as the Arab Spring, Gaddafi was captured by Libyan revolutionaries and killed in October of 2011. Following the nation's release from the grips of a dictator, Libya's governmental system rebuilt itself into a parliamentary republic, governed by the General National Congress (GNC). Unfortunately, the formation of a parliament established through proportional representation did not quell political tension- from the time of its formation, the 21 member parties that have seats in this parliament have been divided between nationalist and Islamist parties. According to Libyan citizens, the GNC has been unsuccessful in creating a Libyan democratic process, which is further exacerbated by the impasse caused by rival parties within the parliament itself. This has led to considerable political tension, and has manifested itself in many violent outbursts over the past two decades. One attack of note took place on May 18th, 2014, when heavily armed gunmen stormed the parliament in Libya's capitol city, Tripoli.
In more recent times, Libya faces the same issue of political divide between nationalist and Islamist parties. The nation requests that international intervention is used in order to help regulate the Libyan parliamentary process in order to establish a true democracy and to avoid further violent conflict.
Instability of the Financial Sector
Following the United Nation's 2003 decision to lift the sanctions from Libya that were imposed in response to the 1988 bombing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, Libya saw an upward economic trend. In fact, Libya's economy improved for seven years following that, and in 2010, their GDP had risen 5%. During this time, Libya was able to attract greater foreign direct investment, most prominently in the energy and banking centres. Libya's economy is structured mainly around their energy sector; it generates approximately 95% of export earnings, 80% of the GDP, and 99% of government income. Although Libya's relatively small population united with substantial revenue from energy exports allow for the highest per capita GDP in Africa, Libya's government has not invested significant financial resources to develop the nation's infrastructure or economy. Unfortunately, the Arab Spring ushered in an indecisive, unstable government, and with that, the international interest in Libya's natural resources plummeted, leading to a further dereliction of Libya's infrastructure. Although Libya is only in its infancy stages of rebuilding its economy, the Arab Spring brought upon previously restrained entrepreneurial activity and the beginning of the spread of a market-based economy. With that considered, it is important to note that only 1.03% of Libya's land is arable, and over 90% of its land is desert, and, with desertification, that percentage is only increasing. Thus, the energy sector's stability issue must be improved, or else Libya could see widespread poverty and negative social change. This issue has been a continual factor for the past two decades, and while slight improvements have been made to rebuild the nation, strong international partnerships are needed in order to kick-start Libya's financial sector and to bring stability to their economy.
Issue with Poverty
The massively destructive Libyan civil war left many regions in Libya in complete destruction; countless buildings crumbled, forcing thousands of families to seek refuge elsewhere. This, coupled with the lack of infrastructure and economic stability, left many Libyans unemployed; this became a serious problem in the years following 2012, when it was officially recorded that the unemployment rate was at 19.5%, although many guessed that it was much higher, around 30%. Thankfully, due to an increased amount of governmental development of infrastructure, causing the creation of thousands of jobs, this unemployment rate has decreased to 9.5% in the year 2030. With that considered, it is of utmost importance that Libya receives international assistance, as it requires it in order to create a stable government, and through that, a stable economy. This would most likely result in a further decrease in the employment rate, as Libya becomes a more economically credible and trustworthy nation, leading to international trade and economic stimulation.
To conclude, as Libya attends the 2030 Conference on World Issues, it is apparent that they are most definitely not issue-free; their governmental system, economy, and citizenship has been thoroughly damaged following the 2011 Arab Spring. However, significant steps have been taken to rebuild Libya into a democratic, affluent nation. In order to reach Libya's goals of providing proper quality of life to its citizens, international participation and assistance is needed. With this help, perhaps Libya will become the nation that rose from the ashes and dust of a civil war, and showed that the countless lives were not lost for nothing, but for democracy and personal freedoms.
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