Although Libya is one of the richest countries on the African continent because of its oil and gas reserves, it is also one of the most unequal; therefore, it is estimated that about a third of its inhabitants live below the poverty line.
Some may attribute these indicators to the unstable situation in the country after the fall of Muammar al-Gaddafi; however, after 10 years of this event, the Libyan economy is not showing its best face and seems to be mired in the misery of war.
For presidential candidate and former Minister of the Interior Fathi Bashaga, Libya needs to adopt policies that will ensure a suitable investment climate and attract foreign direct investment, thus giving a boost to the domestic economy.
“The economy cannot be used to serve politics, but politics must serve the economy. Increasing the income of the State means increasing the income of citizens, improving the value of the national currency and allowing citizens to control and dispose of their money freely and easily,” says Bashaga.
To achieve this purpose and taking into account the current situation in the country, Bashaga also raises the possibility of adopting a federal system for Libya. According to his perspective and following the examples of countries such as the United States and Germany, decentralization would bring positive effects for the national economy and its local development processes.
“Such a system can provide all Libyans with a fair and equal opportunity to exercise their rights and preserve the unity and sovereignty of the country,” he concludes.
According to data from the firm Statista, as of October 2020 and with a -55.45%, Libya occupied the first place in the ranking of 20 countries with the highest public debt in relation to its gross domestic product (GDP), surpassing San Marino, East Timor, Maldives, Oman and other countries in the region.
The Proposals of Bashaga in Terms of Education and Employment
According to the NGO Save the Children, following the pandemic, the education system in Libya is at “extreme risk” of collapse.
Undoubtedly, education is one of the biggest victims of the pandemic and years of civil war in Libya. Low digitization and political instability have meant that thousands of Libyans do not have the opportunity to attend a class or go to school.
In fact, according to an analysis by the NGO Save the Children, following the arrival of the coronavirus in the African country, the education system is at “extreme risk” of collapse, due to the difficulties the nation is facing in the midst of this situation.
For Fathi Bashaga, former Minister of the Interior and current presidential candidate, the response of Libya to the pandemic has not reached an adequate level because of the poor and deteriorating health infrastructure throughout the country, as well as the misuse of funds allocated to address the crisis.
But how can the culture of corruption that has plagued Libya for years be tackled? Bashaga explains that part of the solution lies in transforming education and the perception of the people about the labor market.
“It is key to work on changing perceptions and providing the right environment for small businesses and startups. At the same time, it is especially important for younger generations to understand that the job market goes beyond working for the government sector,” he adds.
The candidate also proposes to introduce modern programs in the education system and to support teachers, so they can take courses in international institutions in order to improve the quality of teaching in schools, colleges and universities.