Deciding to Enter the Libyan Market?

As Libya's oil ports are again closed by strikes, many are growing increasingly concerned for the fate of the Libyan economy.

For better or worse, a large proportion of Libyans depend on public sector jobs and state hand-outs for their livelihood, and these are funded almost entirely from oil and gas revenue. The private sector, too, ultimately depends on the energy that Libya exports.

Viewing this situation against the background of ongoing security problems, foreign companies tempted by new business have a difficult decision to make -- to engage with Libya and manage the risks, or to stay away and leave potentially lucrative contracts to their rivals.

In a week when an Italian engineering company snapped up a billion-euro contract, the boss of French telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent's Libyan operations told the Christian Science Monitor:

"I’m not advising companies to take risks, but to evaluate realities ... We don’t need to stop development until there’s security; they go together."

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