Once the most prosperous and developed country in Africa, thanks to the nation-building policies of Muammar Ghaddafi, NATO dismantled Libya in 2011 to get at its precious oil exports, and the country has never recovered.
Proxy civil war has torn the country apart, with one government based in Tripoli and another in Benghazi, and other countries betting on which side will win.
Nearly 85% of Libya’s super sweet crude oil, which is low in sulfides and carbon dioxide, is sold in European markets. Accordingly, European petrol companies are heavily involved in Libya’s oil production and the assassination of colonel Ghadaffi.
Officially, the state-owned Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) is the only entity that can sell Libyan oil abroad.
However, since Libya has no effective state anymore, the NOC has become just another political entity in the proxy war, and has leaned heavily on foreign firms in recent years to help it increase production.
Those include Italy’s ENI, France’s Total and REPSOL, Norway’s Equinor, Germany’s Wintershall Aktiengesellschaft, and Austria’s OMV, as well as American companies like ConocoPhillips, which also aggressively confiscated Syrian oil reserves.
However, it wasn’t just a hunger for natural resources that led to the NATO intervention that destroyed the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, as it was called under Ghaddafi.
Drawing on thinkers like Nkrumah and others, who noted that neo-colonialism was able to keep functioning due to the control levers European nations had over African ones, such as debts owed on loans, Ghaddafi’s vision was to create a debt-free Africa by making a new development bank by and for Africans.
According to a Reuters report in February 2011, just months before Ghaddafi was overthrown, Libya had provided loans to about 40 countries totaling about $2.1 billion.
However, many of those debts were often forgiven, such as a $1.2 billion loan given to Sudan.
Libya has handed out more than $2 billion in loans to dozens of governments across the globe, according to an internal document that shows the oil exporter’s diplomatic ambitions and its struggles to recover its debts.
Sudan’s south is on course to secede from the mainly Muslim north after a referendum on independence.
Other big debtors are Ethiopia, which owes $249 million and Mozambique, with $211 million to pay back, according to a copy of the document obtained by Reuters.
Many of the loans are interest-free, especially those to African and Arab countries.
When WikiLeaks published US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails in late 2016, it revealed the anxieties Western leaders felt about Ghaddafi’s accumulation of huge amounts of gold and silver with the intention of using them to start an African development bank and a gold-backed African currency.
Clinton infamously chortled “We came, we saw, he died,” after she helped to organize of Ghaddafi’s execution in October 2011.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2022.