North African state. According to provisional data, at the 2003 census the Libya counted 5,678,484 residents, which rose to 5,853,000 at a 2005 estimate. The demographic growth rate (2 % average per year) is mainly due to the high birth rate (26.5 ‰ in 2006), contrasted with a mortality that dropped to 3.5 ‰, while the contribution of migratory flows is modest. In reality, Libya has become the main transit country for illegal African and Maghreb immigrants headed to Europe: most of the ships destined for Italy leave its coasts (see below: History). In 2006L. occupied 64th place in the world ranking of countries by level of human development (life expectancy at birth: 76.5 years; literacy rate: 82.6 %; per capita income at purchasing power parity: $ 6,700). For Libya 2004, please check topb2bwebsites.com.
After the period of diplomatic and economic isolation that characterized the country in the last years of the 20th century. and beyond, Libya has begun to reap the benefits of its decision to compensate for the damage caused by the air attacks carried out by the Libyans in 1988 – 89 and to block all chemical and nuclear weapons production programs, accepting international inspections on its territory . Following this turning point in Libyan foreign policy, the United Nations sanctions, imposed in 1992, were abolished in September 2003.. Subsequently, the United States gradually lifted its sanctions and consequently changed the judgment on the Libyan nation from a ‘supporter of international terrorism’ to a ‘friendly nation of the West’. The improved geopolitical situation sparked a frenzied interest from foreign investors. Although government authorities are keen to attract investment in all sectors of the economy (construction, tourism and telecommunications are the most susceptible to development), the hydrocarbon sector is the one that attracts the most attention.
The proven oil reserves amounted to 5,1 billion tonnes in 2004 (equivalent to 3.3 % of world reserves), while those of natural gas to 1490 billion m 3 (equal to 7 % of world reserves), but it is It is presumable that both are much more consistent than these data indicate, as large expanses of the Libyan territory are still unexplored, and it is likely that modern prospecting techniques will allow other finds. Libya is considered a ‘sleeping oil giant’. Despite the size of the reserves, the production of crude oil, which in 1975 had reached the figure of 72.8million t, in 2004 it was around a similar amount (75.5 million t), but it is foreseeable that following the reorganization of the National Oil Corporation of Lybia (NOC) and the issue of new exploration licenses to foreign companies, production can grow significantly in the future. Oil dominates the economy, accounting for 93 % of exports, 75 % of state revenues and the main source of foreign currency. Therefore, the economy appears particularly sensitive to fluctuations in the price of crude oil on the world market. As a result of the growing revenues from oil exports the Libyan economy entered during the first years of the 21st° sec. in a phase of sustained expansion, despite the persistence of certain structural rigidities and the slowness of the transition process from a socialist-oriented economy to a new order that President M. Gaddafi (al-Qaḏḏāfī) has defined as popular capitalism. However, unemployment remains very high (around 30 % of the workforce). According to a 2001 estimate, the workforce was divided between the various sectors of economic activity: agriculture 7.1 %, industry 23.1 %, services 69.8 %.
In order to reduce dependence on oil as the only source of income for the nation, the Libyan government is focusing above all on the development of agriculture. The difficult climatic conditions and the poverty of the soils (over 95 % of the country’s territory is desert) severely limit the productivity of this sector, while the concomitant increase in population and incomes leads to increasing food consumption. The internal production of food covers just 25 % of the needs. About 80% of agricultural production comes from coastal regions, where underground aquifers are overexploited and compromised by saline intrusions. The government gives priority importance to the enhancement of new water resources, to expand the area under cultivation. To this end, it undertook in 1984 the construction of a pharaonic project, known as the Great artificial river, to convey the waters captured by deep groundwater from the subsoil of internal deserts. At an advanced stage of construction, the network of almost 4000 km of gigantic underground pipes will have a transport capacity of 5 million m 3of water per day, and will allow to increase the cultivated area, which in 1991 measured 327,000 ha, by over 200,000 ha. This will ensure greater food self-sufficiency, as well as an integration of domestic and industrial water needs in coastal cities (Tripoli, Benghazi, Sirte). As regards industrial activities, excluding the oil and construction sectors, there has been a notable expansion of the industrial apparatus, already mainly devoted to the processing of agricultural products, with petrochemical, steel and aluminum plants. For exports (crude oil and derivatives from its refining) and for imports, Libya has Italy as its main partner (42.6% of the total for the former, 19.1 % for the latter). Thanks to the gradual reopening of international relations, tourism is recovering, directed to archaeological sites (Leptis Magna, Sabratha) and to the desert (Fezzan).