On Libyan recovery, World Bank explores aid options

Children at an anti-Moammar Gadhafi protest held at the Libyan embassy in Qatar. Photo by: Omar Chatriwala / CC BY-NC-ND

A year and a half after the death of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the World Bank visits Libya for the first time to inspect how the war-torn country can develop into a modern market economy.

“Libya’s revolution is a great inspiration to the region, and we in the World Bank would like to help the people of Libya, particularly the youth, realize their expectations,” said Inger Andersen, the multilateral institution’s Middle East and North Africa vice president in a statement.

But how can the World Bank actually contribute to rebuilding the country’s economy?

Andersen mentioned a few key areas where the bank’s input can be useful:

  • Improving statistical systems and national accounts.

  • Enhancing monitoring and evaluation systems.

  • Refining corporate governance within state-owned enterprises.

  • Helping the financial sector develop a framework for Islamic finance to ensure it is a well-structured instrument and coexists effectively with conventional banking products.

Andersen likewise stressed the need to work harder on the “nuts and bolts” of building the state after decades of mismanagement by Gadhafi.

The World Bank is also assisting the Libyan government in putting together a review of its financial sector, governance options for investment, a labor market assessment and a cultural heritage report.

Another major challenge is how to deliver rapid and equitable social services to its citizens, and thus the bank is working with the authorities to develop infrastructure plans for water, power and sanitation as well as education and health, said Simon Gray, World Bank director for the Maghreb.

The World Bank also praised the expected full recovery of Libya’s hydrocarbon sector, expected to be again at full production by the end of the year thanks to technical assistance provided by the multilateral institution.

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    As associate editor for breaking news, Carlos Santamaria supervises Devex's Manila-based news team and the creation of our daily newsletter. Carlos joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.