The Challenges of Winning Business in Libya

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills recently said of Libya that it is “a country where the post-conflict reconstruction programme is going to require spending of $200 billion over a ten-year period." The size of this investment and its long- term nature are a product of not just the recent conflict but the failures of the Gaddafi regime and the long-standing international sanctions against it.

With elections due in June 2012, the suspension of sanctions and substantial oil revenues to fund the rebuilding of Libya, it is clear that there now is a significant opportunity for firms, especially for those that are active not only in the Oil & Gas sector, but also Transport Infrastructure, Health and Education & Training, to win substantial and long term contracts.

That said, firms hoping to win Libyan business must develop strategies that will position themselves so that they are well placed to win the contracts that will begin to be tendered immediately after the election in June 2012. For example firms will need to ask them-selves:
• What are Libya’s economic priorities?
• What are the short-term opportunities?
• What are the longer-term opportunities?
• What will happen to existing contracts?

Moreover, the existing Libyan rules for joint ventures, which require 75% of employees to be local, will be retained. This means businesses must develop effective approaches that will create and nurture local relationships, as well as identifying contracts that are available for tender.

It is generally recognised that there is a narrowing window of opportunity for firms to ensure that they are in a position to win contracts. The completion of the elections will mark the point when significant new contracts will be made available. Moreover, it is widely expected that the speed at which companies will be expected to go forward will be at a very fast pace.

Although there are great opportunities in Libya, and the stock exchange has recently re-opened, it would be a mistake not to recognise that the political and security outlook for the country remains uncertain and that a number of factors will impact upon the Libyan business environment. These also have to be addressed by examining the current political environment and issues such as security and corruption.

A one-day conference Winning Business in Libya: - A Practical Guide for UK Companies will take place on 14th May 2012, at the Park Lane Hotel, London. The conference will examine these issues in detail and included a video presentation from His Excellency Dr Mahmoud Fetais, Minister of Industry, National Transitional Council (NTC), Libya and a keynote address delivered at the conference by Edward Oakden, The Managing Director of the Sectors Group, UK Trade & Investment.

(Source: The Tripoli Post)

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