Libya government partners with World Bank to accelerate economic recovery

  • Written by  Bob Koigi

The World Bank Group has announced a new strategy of support for Libya focused on restoring key services to citizens and promoting economic recovery as a critical contribution to the ongoing peace process.

Developed in response to a request from the Libyan government, the new strategy draws on the Bank Group’s global experience working with countries coping with instability and aims to address urgent priorities while laying the groundwork for future recovery and reconstruction.

The new strategy was presented in a Country Engagement Note (CEN) that outlines the Bank Group’s approach to supporting the Libyan people over the next three years. One of the two overarching goals of the CEN is to support concrete improvements in the lives of citizens by restoring access to dependable electricity and quality education and healthcare services.

The other principal goal is to accelerate economic recovery by helping build the capacity of the government to manage public funds, while developing the private and financial sectors. In addition, a common theme of all engagements under the CEN will be to promote transparency, accountability and inclusion in all government decision making and service delivery. This will contribute to restoring trust between citizens and their government, which is a critical foundation of stability.

“Libya has immense potential, despite current challenges,” said Marie Françoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for the Maghreb and Malta. “If the peace process holds, Libya could leverage its natural resources, cultural heritage and well-educated population, particularly its youth with strong potential, to create a diverse and dynamic economy. We are determined to support the peace process and help Libya reach this goal by addressing current economic challenges that can aggravate political divisions and build instead an economy that works for all Libyans.”

The World Bank has been engaged with Libya for over a decade, helping to build capacities and modernize state institutions. The CEN is built on the knowledge gained and relationships developed during this period.

The World Bank has followed an ‘All of Libya Approach,’ by convening and working with officials and representatives of civil society and the private sector from across the entire country.

The CEN will maintain this approach throughout all its engagements, from building the national budget to restoring health services. This focus on inclusion will also mean special attention paid to excluded groups, such as young people, women and internally displaced people, to ensure that basic services are reaching them and that policy decisions address their specific needs.

“The focus on inclusive services will also help address the migration crisis,” said Michael Schaeffer, World Bank Libya Country Representative. “Economic recovery coupled with the restoration and expansion of basic services will put the government in a much better position to host migrants with the standards of care they have committed to. The World Bank will also participate in the Migration Working Group established by the government as a vehicle for a range of international institutions and organizations to develop joint policies ad coordinate activities to address the international dimensions of the crisis.”

The program of support outlined in the CEN will be delivered through Technical Assistance and Reimbursable Advisory Services. The World Bank will continue to coordinate closely with development partners in Libya, with the CEN based on areas where the Bank has comparative advantages.

In view of the importance of the private sector for Libya’s future the CEN was developed in partnership with the Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) that provides political risk insurance.

IFC will provide advisory services to support the development of public private partnerships, sources of financing for small and medium enterprises, and business support services. Should conditions improve and opportunities for private invest emerge, the IFC would be ready to support with investments and MIGA with risk guarantees.

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