Libya was better under Qaddafi's rule
Debate Rounds (4)
Resolved: Libya was a better nation under Muammar Qaddafi's rule (September 1969 - October 2011)
The values we will be debating in this debate are:
1. Libya's economy (as a whole and relating to the people of Libya)
2. Libya's path forward (under Qaddafi versus now)
3. Libya's state of society (Unrest/Stability, Rule of Law, State of Government, Popular satisfaction with the state of Libya)
4. Libya's formal/informal international relations (Libya's allies then v.s. now, foreign investment, Libya's power in the world)
5. Libya's development (Equality, democracy, freedom and liberty)
I look forward to a good debate :D
Libya’s GDP was (in 2009) $62,360,400,000 or $62.36 billion current USD . This ranks it 68th in the world, and 12th out of the 21 nations that make up the Middle East and North Africa. The Libyan economy depends primarily on the energy sector which accounts for 95% of export earnings, 65% of GDP and 80% of government revenue . With about 3.5 percent of the world’s proven crude oil reserves, Libya has a prominent position in the international energy market. Before the revolution, its output was 1.77 million barrels per day of crude oil (equivalent to 2 percent of global output) and close to 0.2 million barrels-equivalent of natural gas. Following the lifting of earlier United Nations (UN) sanctions in 2003, economic activity increased steadily for seven years. During 2004–10, average real GDP growth was approximately 5 percent, annual consumer price inflation averaged less than 4 percent, and official foreign assets increased from $20 billion at end-2003 to $170 billion at end-2010. The non-hydrocarbon sectors grew rapidly, underpinned by an ambitious public investment program. During this time there was much economic progress in Libya through privatization, restructure and reform, and development projects. There were advances in the privatization of some major sectors, notably in the Libyan banking sector. In March 2005, a law was passed allowing foreign banks to open branches in Libya, provided they have at least US$50 million dollars of capitalization. Libya's banking system is dominated by four banks which are owned in full or in the majority by the Libyan Central Bank (Jamahiriya Bank, Wahda Bank, Sahara Bank, Umma Bank and the National Commercial Bank). These banks constitute almost ninety percent of Libya's banking sector assets. All of these banks have capital of at least 100 million Libyan Dinars, and two of them (Wahda Bank and Sahara Bank), were in the process of being privatized as part of the government’s economic reform program. France's BNP Paribas acquired 19% of Libya's Sahara Bank in July 2007, and took operational control of the bank. The deal also includes an option allowing BNP Paribas to purchase additional shares up to 51% of Sahara's capital over the next three to five years. In November 2007, five foreign banks were shortlisted for the privatization of Wahda Bank, including French, Italian, Jordanian, Bahraini and Moroccan institutions; Arab Bank (of Jordan) was selected. They bid on a 19% of the share of Wahda Bank, with the option to increase their ownership to 51% in three to five years. The Central Bank announced in October 2007 that it would merge Umma Bank and Jamahiriya bank into a single entity; that process was completed in 2008 although there are still branches open under the banner of each bank. The government has also committed to plans for large-scale infrastructure projects. In the 2008-2012 development plan, $75 billion was earmarked for infrastructure projects. These included a bid to upgrade the country’s airports and transport infrastructure with projects to construct a coastal motorway, a metro system in Tripoli, and a railway network. The regime also announced plans to build large new showcase public buildings as well as housing projects to meet the desperate housing shortages. Although progress has been slow, there has been some movement on some of these projects. Tripoli has witnessed a construction frenzy with large scale housing units going up in various locations around the city and its outskirts. Unfortunately, needless to say, this reform and development has suddenly halted with the end of the regime and the beginning of the new government. It is unclear whether the new government supports and/or intends to create further financial and economic reform, and therefore it is difficult to tell if any real change is set to happen.
Libya faced and still faces many problems- low wages, moderate unemployment and high youth unemployment, lack of infrastructure and foreign investment, diversification of the domestic economy and exports, and lack of large-scale private sector development. However, Libya was clearly on a path of financial and tangible economic reform under Qaddafi, and economic growth was sound and stable. In fact, in 2009, Libya’s government received its first investment grade credit rating from Fitch- showing optimism about Libya’s prospects for the future. It noted Libya had no foreign debt, was taking steps to diversify its economy and raise living conditions, and had a strong sovereign wealth fund which could help protect against fluctuating world oil prices. Libya was on a path to success, which was soon cut into pieces by the civil war. The question remains- will the new government get back on that path?
According to statistics compiled by the Libyan Government and UNESCO, the rate of Illiteracy in Libya in the 1970’s was around 30%,  and now, it is around 94.6% , which, compared to the regional average of 81.9%, is a large achievement. Libya (under Qaddafi in 2009) had a human development index of 0.763 and a rank of 55 out of 182 nations, which, considering the high level at 0.734, the world at 0.676, and the Arab States at 0.634, is another bold achievement. After Qaddafi, Libya has since dropped to 0.760. This is due partly to Libya’s high GDP per capita as well as its high life expectancy at birth and high years of schooling. It’s clear that Libya was far too authoritarian under Qaddafi, who made dissent illegal and set up a undemocratic dictatorship, but otherwise Libya’s human development was relatively high, with decent incomes, good housing, infrastructure investment and development (such as the Great Manmade River, the largest underground network of aqueducts and pipes in the world, created by Qaddafi’s government to supply Libya with clean, safe water) and a path to liberalize both the economy and Libya’s political systems.
Now, without Qaddafi and a stable government, there has been a power vacuum. Numerous articles  have been written about this power vacuum, and what it basically comes down to is less government control, with dominant insurgent militias jostling for power, undermined rule of law and stability, higher social unrest and instability which causes new problems and exacerbates already existing economic and social problems. The new government faces many security challenges, and unfortunately, it is simply unable to cope with them. The recent assault on the US Libyan Consulate and the assassination of the US Ambassador to Libya illustrates this fact strikingly. There is no doubting the existence of a serious power vacuum in Libya, and this of course has frightening effects on Libya as a whole. If not for anything else, the instability Libya faces now and the possibility of a coup, genocide or worse makes its own case for Libya under Qaddafi.
From CNN : "The problem is that the Libyan army and the Libya police forces effectively disintegrated," Wehrey said. "These groups are basically running the show" throughout much of Libya. Another analyst, Andrew Lebovich, a Washington-based researcher focused on security issues in North Africa and the Sahel, said the militias, criminal groups, and hard-line Islamist groups in Libya make up a "somewhat diffuse" environment. "Some groups, such as the Ansar al-Sharia Brigades in Benghazi and Derna and the Imprisoned Omar Abdel Rahman Brigades have been involved in increasing shows of force and outright attacks against Western and other targets in Libya in recent months," he said. "The strategy of trying to dismantle the regional militias while simultaneously making use of them as hired guns might be sowing the seeds for the country's descent into warlordism," he warned.
Unfortunately due to character limits I will not be able to fully elaborate on the new face of Libya's international relations and development but I will further on. Thank you. I look forward to your response.
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