Interview: New LIA boss plans to fund Libyan Infrastructure

Certainly, Mr. Shamekh is highly experienced. He has held various business leadership positions, including: Deputy Chairman and General Manager of Oilinvest International Group (Tamoil Group); founding member and Chairman of the board of directors of Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAIP); founder, Chairman and CEO of Tamoil Africa Holdings and Libya Oil Holdings, where he closed the acquisition of Exxon Mobil’s subsidiaries in Africa and nine Royal Dutch Shell subsidiaries in Africa.

In 2004, after a 24-year break in diplomatic relations, he concluded the first commercial deal with U.S. major Exxon Mobil, shortly after the lifting of the U.S sanctions against Libya, when Tamoil Africa holdings Ltd bought the Niger unit of Exxon Mobil.

Until 2011, Mr Shamekh was Chairman and CEO of Libya Oil Holdings. In 2011, when the UN Security Council imposed freezing measures on Libyan financial and investment entities which included Libya Libyan Oil Holdings/Tamoil Africa Group, Shamekh was able to negotiate and obtain exemptions to enable Libya Oil Holdings to operate without hindrance. He obtained exemptions from EU sanctions by addressing concerns raised by international regulatory authorities.

This history puts Mr Shamekh in a unique position to unlock Libya’s considerable sovereign wealth, which are needed to help the country recover after a protracted civil war following the ousting of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011, and sources close to him suggest that subsidiary offices would be quickly opened in London and New York to capitalise on investment opportunities.

However, Mr Shamekh is adamant that LIA investments will flow back into Libya to where they are most needed:

“We hope that we can unify the LIA for the best interests of the Libyan people so that the investments can flow back into the critical infrastructure such as oil facilities to generate more wealth for Libya, to social services, for airports and roads, to increased power generation to prevent the sort of blackouts we saw this summer, and to improved telecommunications and internet systems urgently required to modernise Libya’s economy.”

Adam Nathan can be contacted at [email protected] and +44 7900 783662.

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