Libya Overview

GENERAL

Official name of the state

State of Libya.

Capital

Tripoli.

Geography

Most of Libya is desert. As a country located in Africa according to oxfordastronomy, the country of Libya borders in the west with Tunisia and Algeria, in the east with Egypt, in the south with Niger, Chad and Sudan (the Sahara extends into these three countries). The Mediterranean coast is almost 2000 km long. In the east a plain stretches from the Tunisian border to the area of Jabal Akhdar (Green Mountain), the inland is hilly. Agriculture is practiced in the western coastal area between Zuara and Misurata and in the east between Susah (Apollonia) and Benghazi. In the higher province of Cyrenaica and on Jabal Akhdar, the vegetation is a little more lush. There are oases all over the country, except in the area of the “sand lake” Sarir Calanscio and the Sahara mountains of Sarir Tibesti.

Government

Republic with parliamentary democracy since 2011 (according to the 2011 constitution). Islamist-Socialist People’s Republic since 1976. Constitution from 1977, since 1994 Sharia law (Islamic law). Supreme state organ (since August 2012): National Assembly with 200 members. Civil war from February to October 2011. From February 2011 to July 2012 the National Transitional Council was the highest body. The state bodies in office since the end of 2015, the Presidential Council, Parliament and State Council, are to be replaced by a new government by the end of 2017 at the latest.

Head of state

Fayez al-Sarraj, since December 2015.

Head of government

Fayez al-Sarraj, since October 2015.

Electricity

150/220 V, 50 Hz. Occasional power failure.

Time zone

Eastern European Time: CET +3

Libya Overview

MONEY

Currency

1 Libyan dinar = 1000 dirhams. Currency abbreviation: LD, LYD (ISO code). There are banknotes in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, 1, 1/2 and 1/4 LD, coins in denominations of 500, 250, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 dirhams.

Credit cards

International credit cards such as Diners Club and Visa are accepted to a limited extent in some hotels in Tripoli and Benghazi. Details from the issuer of the credit card in question.
ATMs

ec / Maestro card / Sparcard

Attention: Travelers who pay with their bank customer card abroad and want to withdraw money should find out about the options for using their card from their bank prior to departure.

Bank opening times

In winter: Sa-Wed 8 a.m.-12 p.m., in summer: Sa-Thu 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and Sa-Wed 4 p.m.-5 p.m.

Foreign exchange regulations

Unlimited amounts of foreign currencies can be imported, mandatory declaration. The export is only possible in the amount of the amount declared on entry. The import and export of the local currency is prohibited.

Currency Exchange

Dollars and euros can be exchanged in banks, exchange offices or at the reception of large hotels.

Upon entry, there is a compulsory exchange with the equivalent of 500 LD per person. This regulation does not apply to the following persons:
– Tourists who visit Libya with a tour operator, provided that the costs of the stay are covered for the entire duration,
– Holders of an official business visa,
– Holders of a student visa who receive a Libyan scholarship,
– official guests and persons wishing to move to a person residing in Libya, provided that person agrees to pay all living expenses and medical treatment.

Bringing US dollars is recommended. Exchange receipts are to be kept until departure in order to be able to prove the permitted amount of foreign currency upon departure. Israeli shekels are not allowed to be imported.

LANGUAGE

Overview

The official language is Arabic. Berber and Nilo-Saharan languages. Some English and Italian are spoken in the largest cities.

 

ECONOMY

Business etiquette

On hot summer days you can come to a business meeting with short sleeves. Suit and tie or costume are reserved for larger occasions. English is generally understood, but Arabic is the common language of business and business people should be aware that all official documents are in Arabic. Appointments must be made in advance. Business cards are not used everywhere.

Business hours: In general Sat-Wed 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

Economy

Arab-German Association for Trade and Industry eV
Garnisonskirchplatz 1, D-10178 Berlin
Tel: (030) 278 90 70.
Internet: www.ghorfa.com

Austrian-Arab Chamber of Commerce
Lobkowitzplatz 1, A-1015 Vienna
Tel: (01) 513 39 65.
Internet: www.aacc.at

Tripoli Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
Sharia al-Fatah September, PO Box 2321, Tripoli
Tel: (021) 333 37 55.

Business contacts

Arab-German Association for Trade and Industry eV
Garnisonskirchplatz 1, D-10178 Berlin
Tel: (030) 278 90 70.
Internet: www.ghorfa.com

Austrian-Arab Chamber of Commerce
Lobkowitzplatz 1, A-1015 Vienna
Tel: (01) 513 39 65.
Internet: www.aacc.at

Tripoli Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
Sharia al-Fatah September, PO Box 2321, Tripoli
Tel: (021) 333 37 55.

COMMUNICATION

Phone

International direct dialing.

Cellphone

GSM 900 and 1800. Network operators are El Madar Telephone Co, Orbit and General Post and Telecommunications Company.

Internet

Main provider: Libya Telecom and Technology (Internet: www.lttnet.com). Internet cafes can be found in Tripoli, Misurata, Benghazi, Zleetin and Alkhomus.

Post Office

There are post offices only in larger cities; the service is unreliable, letters are sometimes censored. Airmail to Europe takes around two weeks.

Radio

Since the use of shortwave frequencies changes several times over the course of a year, it is advisable to contact Deutsche Welle customer service directly (Tel: (+49) (0228) 429 32 08. Internet: www.dw-world.de) to request.

SHOP

Overview

Leather goods, spices, metal engravings and jewelry.

NIGHTLIFE

Introduction

There are cinemas in larger cities and some also show international films.

CULINARY

ACCOMMODATION

Hotels

In Tripoli and Benghazi there are some well-equipped upper-middle-class hotels. There are also acceptable hotels in Beida, Cyrene (Shahat), Ghadames, Homs, Sebha, Tobruk and Derna.

CULTURE

Religion

Islam (Sunni) is the state religion (97%); catholic and orthodox minorities.

Social rules of conduct

Women are generally not admitted to typical Arab events. Women should dress discreetly, especially when visiting mosques and in small towns. Under no circumstances may swimwear be worn outside the beaches. Photography: Public buildings are not allowed to be photographed. Permission should always be asked before people are photographed. Tip: 10-20% service is usually included in hotel and restaurant bills. Porters receive a tip, taxi drivers do not.

CLIMATE

Best travel time

Mediterranean climate with almost uninterrupted sunshine and little rain (November to February). The summers are hot, the winters mild with cool evenings. In desert regions it gets cold at night.

COUNTRY DATA

Area code +218 Area (sqkm) 1759500 Population 6411776 Population density (per sqkm) 4 Population in 2015 Member of the EU No major emergency number 1515