Peace dividend for Libyan economy as oil sinks and central bank unifies exchange rate after years of stalemate |

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The Libyan belligerents agreed in October to stop the fighting, triggering a peace process that is expected to culminate in elections on December 24, 2021.

Reviving the shattered economy is an essential part of returning to normalcy, and representatives of Libyan economic institutions met in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday, with the aim of “developing critical economic reforms and restoring public confidence in the management of the Libyan economy “, according to the UN. mission in Libya (MANUL) in a press release.

“This meeting here in Geneva is taking place against the backdrop of some positive developments on the economic path, including the full resumption of oil production,” said UNSMIL chief, UN Special Representative, Stephanie Williams. , at the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), the group of 75 people representing the whole of Libyan society.

Unified exchange rates

After discussions on Monday and Tuesday, the board of directors of the Central Bank of Libya met on Wednesday for the first time in five years and agreed to unify the country’s exchange rate, a positive move that should help to stabilize the Libyan currency and to fight against corruption.

UNSMIL said the decision was “a major source of hope for the Libyan people” and a good sign that the bank is moving towards unification, less than two months after the truce signed by the government of national unity ( GNA) and the Libyan National Army. (LNA).

“The time has come for all Libyans – especially the country’s political actors – to show similar courage, determination and leadership to put aside their personal interests and overcome their differences for the good. of the Libyan people in order to restore the country’s sovereignty and democracy, legitimacy of its institutions, ”Ms. Williams said in a brief statement welcoming the bank’s decision.

Ms Williams said that an international audit of the two branches of the Central Bank of Libya, as part of the process of reuniting the bank and fully re-establishing national accountability mechanisms, was now almost halfway.

Oil revenue

The Geneva meeting also discussed the reunification of the government budget and the public sector wage bill, the financing of infrastructure, the management of the growing national debt and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Much depends on Libya’s huge oil revenues which have been frozen at the Libyan Foreign Bank since September. Unlocking the income depended in part on the performance of the LPDF, Ms. Williams said.

There is momentum now on the economic path, and that reflects what the constituency for change is in the country – MANUL Chief Stephanie Williams

“But now there is momentum on the economic path, and that reflects what the constituency for change is in the country,” she said.

Participants at the Geneva Economic Meeting, who plan to meet again in January, agreed to try to end the freeze, noting the importance of timely budget allocations for the National Oil Company. They called on all parties to refrain from any act of intimidation against the NOC.

“The train left the station”

In comments to the LPDF, Ms Williams said she planned to hold a first virtual meeting of the Legal Committee on December 21 and asked the LPDF to agree that the establishment of the committee would mark the start of the “phase. preparatory “leading up to the election. It was important to keep moving forward towards the elections and not to let any obstacles stand in the way or spend time pleading the past, she said.

“I am fully committed, the train has left the station on this process, there is no turning back. Expectations are high internationally, but especially among the Libyan people, so collectively, let’s not let them down, let’s be smart and forward-looking and let’s work together.

She said the LPDF had struggled to agree on how to select the executive authority that would oversee the preparatory phase, and she said she planned to form an advisory committee to bridge the gaps and enable concrete progress. She said the time was running out and it was important not to let the issue of leadership selection delay the elections.

“I’m going to use an American expression here: ‘We’re going to be walking and chewing gum at the same time,’” Ms. Williams said.


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