By Sami Zaptia.
London, 16 June 2021:
Turkey’s exports to Libya reached US$ 983 million (TL 8.41 billion) between January and May this year – an increase of 67 percent – and 138 percent for May alone.
New stability in Libya
The trade figure reflects the new period of stability and peace in Libya since the effective ceasefire of June 2020 and the official ceasefire agreement of October of the same year. The ceasefire meant Libya’s main eastern oilfields were able to resume production – up to the current rate of 1.1 to 1.2 million barrels per day.
The increased trade also reflects the swearing in in February of the new unified Libyan government under Abd Alhamid Albabaiba – the first unified government in Libya since the country’s political split in 2014.
Better Libyan-Turkish relations
But the increased trade may also reflect the improved military, political, diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries – including the signing of the controversial maritime jurisdiction agreement in November 2019.
Exports could triple if budget approved
Murtaza Karanfil, head of Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board’s (DEIK) Turkey-Libya Business Council, told Turkish Anadolu Agency (AA) that the Council expects the export figure to surpass US$ 3 billion by the end of the year – especially if the Libyan parliament approves the unified Libyan government’s draft 2021 budget.
Libya’s motorway project to Africa
Moreover, Karanfil said that if the Libyan motorway project south into Central Africa is completed, “Libya may become one of the most key countries in Africa in terms of supply chains.” This would also have a further positive impact on Turkey’s exports, he said.
Turkish exports to Libya sustainable
Karanfil said that exports to Libya are sustainable with hazelnuts and their products, jewellery, fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruits and products, textiles and raw materials and mining products seeing the most increase in exports to Libya.
He said that Turkish investors’ interest in Libya continues. “The mobilization of the economy and the acceleration of stability continue simultaneously in Libya. We can see this in our five-month export figures. Libya is a country that needs investment in every sense.’’
Karanfil reiterated that Turkey’s planned logistics base in Misrata will make a significant contribution to the foreign trade volume between the two countries.
With this planned base, Karanfil said, “Libya can become a country where 100 million people can live in economic prosperity in North Africa.”