Libya crisis: a decade to rebuild Libya

Rebuilding Libya’s infrastructure will take at least 10 years, according to the head of the Libyan Stabilisation Team at the UK’s National Transitional Council (NTC).

Aug 26 2011 | BBC News

Rebuilding LibyaRebuilding Libya’s infrastructure will take at least 10 years, according to the head of the Libyan Stabilisation Team at the country’s National Transitional Council (NTC).

Libya’s infrastructure was in a poor state even before the revolution due to “utter neglect”, the head of the team, Ahmed Jehani, told the BBC.

The first priority must be to unfreeze Libyan assets held abroad, which total more than $100bn (£61bn), he said.

International help will also be needed.

Mr Jehani said in an interview with the BBC’s Middle East Business Report: “Its going to be quite a while… it will be at least a decade because the infrastructure before was in utter neglect.”

Production of oil, Libya’s main export, has fallen from 1.6 million barrels a day before the conflict to fewer than 100,000.

Libya’s NTC has already been outlining its strategy to stabilise the country once Colonel Gaddafi has gone.

Its main aim is to secure humanitarian aid for people affected by the fighting, and to get Libya’s economy running again.


Mr Jehani said his stabilisation team would give priority to rebuilding the most war-damaged parts of the country, including Misrata and the Western Mountains.

He said outside help would be needed, but that any plan of action would be put before a parliament for approval.

“A lot of financial institutions have expressed their intentions and desires to help us and we will look at all of that.

“All of this will be put in front of the elected government to vote on and then our job will be finished.”

Outside financial help is in the pipeline.

The United Nations Security Council, which had frozen Libya’s overseas assets, has agreed to unfreeze $1.5bn for humanitarian needs.

A meeting of donor countries has been held in Doha, capital of Qatar, with a target of raising $2.5bn to pay the salaries of government workers as well as funding treatment for people injured in the fighting.

The continuing quest for defense spending.

I was on a conference call the other day that included defense contractor representatives and a federal lab employee who is an expert at social and predictive modeling and who is planning on starting his own company as soon as he chooses an application that he thinks has the best chance of launching his company Because he has worked for the government for a long time, a viable option is having his first customer be a government entity or a defense contractor or both as this has become such a gray area. I am helping this aspiring entrepreneur because I currently am in the business of building web applications and know quite a bit about what not to do when starting a new company.

This particular defense contractor has a team of match-makers who are looking for research and ideas outside of its own large R&D group. Why? Over the past two-plus decades technology breakthroughs have been bolstered by scientific discoveries from the 50s, 60s and 70s. In the 1980s the prevailing thinking was that the private sector should invest in research and the government should not compete with them. What was not realized was that research funded by the private sector would be very applied and research supported by the government had been necessary basic building blocks that the private sector would never fund. There is a renewed interest for corporations now to explore research work in institutions that still have government-funded basic research in some form to find fresh opportunities.

During the conference call several potential applications for the defense contractor were discussed: supply chain optimization, improved flight rerouting tools, maintenance schedule management, etc. But then the conversation took a sharp turn after the aspiring entrepreneur talked about his work of modeling Afghani drug lords that showed who, where and what kind of relationships drove that industry. He then realized that the same model techniques could be applied to US government leaders as he modeled how work got done at a national laboratory. One of the defense contractor match-makers quickly asked whether he could develop a model to identify advantages whilst going after “drying-up defense funding.” The answer was “yes” with both of us rolling our eyes.

After the conference call we grabbed a couple of sandwiches, binoculars and went to a canyon edge in hopes of seeing a falcon family of three fly around. We talked about about the continuing defense contractor business cycle of marketing threat, getting government funds and marketing an expanded threat. Then we discussed application opportunities that have absolutely no value to anyone in the business of defense.

This morning the lab scientist sent me “As Defense Industry Lobbies Against Cuts, Rhetoric Overshoots Reality” illustrating how much countries spend annually on defense with the US of A topping the chart with $698B, “threatening” China second at $119B and Britain in the bronze position at $60B. All I could do was roll my eyes.