Libya NTC says to review investments worldwide
Top Libyan official says NTC will review all investments in Arab and African countries
Reuters, Sunday 8 Jan 2012
Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil (R) and Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir attend a joint news conference in Tripoli January 7, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
Libya will review its investments in the Arab world, Africa, and elsewhere, and it will make major agricultural and property investments in neighbouring Sudan, the chairman of its ruling National Transitional Council said on Saturday.
"We have a general view to review all investments in the Arab world, the African continent and elsewhere," Mustafa Abdul Jalil said at news conference with visiting Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
"There are some countries where investment will increase and others where projects will stop."
"There are investments that are worthy of developing and there may be investments that would be better for the Libyan people for them to be closed," Abdul Jalil said.
Under Muammar Gaddafi, Libya invested its oil wealth mostly in Europe but it also made major investments in Africa, the Middle East, North Africa and the United States.
Some of Libya's major investments in Africa are managed by the $65-billion Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) through a $5 billion fund known as Libyan African Investment Portfolio (LAP).
The African fund investments includes LAP Green Network, a telecom company operating in six African countries, which officials said made losses due to UN sanctions.
The LIA has conducted a sweeping probe of its investments over the past few months and made recommendations to the new Libyan government.
Its acting chief executive told Reuters in November the cash-heavy fund would be used to finance reconstruction efforts, but gave no indication about whether its strategic holdings in Africa and Europe would be sold.
Among LIA's assets are stakes in Italian bank Unicredit, British publisher Pearson and Juventus Football Club in Italy.
Abdul Jalil said Libya would increase its Sudan investments.
"There will be major agricultural and real estate investments in Sudan," he said. "Reason and justice require us to direct agricultural investments close to Libya instead of the Far East or Central Asia."
Like other oil-rich Arab states, Abdul Jalil said Libya wanted to benefit from Sudan's farming lands and relatively cheap labour. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have large agricultural investments in Sudan.
Much of the Libya's foreign assets are in cash, bonds and equities. Its former Central Bank governor said in August the country's foreign currency reserves were about $168 billion.
The UN Security Council's lifted sanctions on the Libyan Central Bank last month and a subsidiary giving the country's new rulers immediate access to cash needed for salaries, payment for former rebels and reconstruction efforts.