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Libya’s high unemployment urges significant policy change

Unemployment is a major challenge for state institutions in Libya, notably the Libyan Ministry of Labor and Capacity Building, which aims at balancing the learning outcomes and the requirements of the labor market.

In an attempt to solve the problem, the ministry previously created a vocational training department to prepare youth for working in the private sector, especially as the public sector has over 1.8 million employees.

According to the ministry, Libya’s unemployment rate hiked to more than 18%, one of the highest unemployment rates in the world – about half of all young people and a quarter of women are unemployed.

The labor force in Libya reached 78.5% in the public sector, while the private sector accounts for only 21.5%, according to international reports.

The private sector can be an important contributor to the growth of national economy especially that Libya aims to diversify its income resources instead of relying on oil revenues, which accounts for 98% of the country’s total public income.

The Libyan Ministry of Labor and Capacity Building is working with different partners to provide young Libyans with technical and life skills, particularly in potential growth sectors like renewable energies.

‘‘Promoting Employment and Private Sector Development in Libya’’ is a €5 million (LYD 7.8 million) project financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It started last year and is scheduled to continue until 2022.

The renewable energies sector is seen as a priority sector for both employment opportunities and to complement the energy needs in times of frequent electricity cuts in Libya.

According to the German development cooperation (GIZ), the overall objective of the project is for Libyans to benefit from a stronger private sector and improved training opportunities.

The project focuses on areas with growth potential such as the manufacturing industry, renewable energies, information technology, electrical engineering/electronics, or construction.

Through quality training that meets international standards, GIZ supports trainees from different Libyan training institutions, to equip them with valuable skills that increase their chances of earning their own income and to have a good and secure life.

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