An Oil-Rich Virgin Territory: Libya

Libya remains tempting. The oil-rich country is virgin territory. Recent rises in state salaries have made Libyans, already well-off for this part of the world, keen to spend. So is the government, since the country’s infrastructure is so poor. Before the war it signed deals to build roads, railways, houses, hospitals and schools. Now that international sanctions have been lifted, investment should be pouring in.

One problem is insecurity. Benghazi, the country’s second-biggest city, is still a no-go area for Americans, Britons and the French. But rampant militias are not the main deterrent, says Kevin Virgil of Pathfinder Capital: his London-based investment firm also works in Iraq, which is getting much investment despite being at least as dangerous.

Misrata’s militias provide better security than those in bomb-prone Benghazi. The port and free zone have broad autonomy from the central authorities in Tripoli, so decisions are taken more quickly.

Excerpts, Business in Libya: A post-Qaddafi pause, Economist, Oct. 5, 2013, at 69/Business in Misrata The can-do city, Economist, Oct. 5, 2013, at 69

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