Council Members

The LBBC Business Risk Advisor

Libya is experiencing a period of unprecedented transition. As the country embarks on a programme of national reconstruction and actively seeks foreign partners to supply the necessary products, services and expertise, the potential trade and investment opportunities for LBBC members are exceptional.

LBBC Business Risk AdvisorNevertheless, despite these positive developments, the political and security outlook for the country remains uncertain: the long-term stability of the new governing authority, socioeconomic pressures on the Libyan people, potential religious and ethnic tensions, and the continuing influence of armed militia on the democratic process - all of these factors and more may impact upon the Libyan business environment.

Understanding the current risks associated with doing business in Libya and being able to accurately forecast how the prevailing political and security situation may influence business variables, such as export payments and investment returns, are invaluable attributes for any commercial operation.

The LBBC's new risk advisory digest aims to provide our members and clients with access to relevant, current, and actionable information and informed opinions which they can draw upon when making commercial decisions.

The reports, extracts and links listed below contain strategic advice which will help LBBC members to manage their operational risk and minimize uncertainty with respect to their Libyan business interests and their commercial plans going forward.

This new online service also aims to highlight the broader range of products and services offered by LBBC members that operate in the fields of business intelligence and risk management and to showcase their expertise to an audience that may benefit from a more direct relationship.

We are confident that LBBC members - both experienced Libyan operators and businesses new to the Libyan market - will choose to explore further the strategic advice offered by some of the information providers contributing to this service.

AKE Group

AKE is a risk mitigation company which has maintained a constant presence in Libya since the outbreak of unrest in February 2011. Initially there through its support for major media organisations and providing the vital and successful evacuation of energy personnel, AKE continues to support clients in media, the oil industry, NGOs and governments.  

With the current political and security environments in a constant state of flux, AKE supports its clients in a wide range of sectors as they set-up or re-establish their operations in-country. Founded in 1991 by Andrew Kain, AKE distinguishes itself from other firms in the sector by taking a needs- and information-led approach to assessing, monitoring, training for and protecting against risk and ensuring the safety of staff. Using its network of local contacts and personnel on the ground, AKE aims to facilitate the entry of international companies back into the country and assist in the mitigation of current and potential future risks to business continuity and company personnel.

Links:

AKE WEEKLY LIBYA UPDATE (Friday 4 April 2014): AKE’s free weekly Libya Update (below) combines information from AKE personnel and sources throughout the country to give an up to date and first-hand view of the situation on the ground. Analysis of the week’s major events in the political, security and business fields is combined with practical information and advice from AKE risk specialists aiming to give personnel in a number of different fields, from international business and media to NGOs and governments, a relevant picture of the current and future operating environment.

AKE Libya Update

Summary
Sporadic clashes were reported in several parts of Tripoli on the evening of 3 April. In Benghazi, a member of the Saiqa special forces was shot dead by unidentified militants. In Derna, a member of the judicial police was wounded when unidentified militants opened fire on his vehicle. In Sabha, employees of the state-owned Jumhuriya bank began a two day strike after a colleague was shot dead at work. In Awbari, the abducted manager of the Bank of North Africa was released following the payment of a ransom. Meanwhile, representatives of the government and rebels blockading export terminals in the east of the country claimed that talks aimed at opening the terminals over the coming week were progressing.

Tripoli
Sporadic clashes were reported in a number of areas of the city on the evening of 3 April. A dispute between two families reportedly deteriorated into armed clashes in Noofliyeen district, while in Tajoura clashes were also reported between two rival militias. The risk of sporadic clashes is ever-present in the city, although few of these have a direct impact on foreign personnel beyond potentially causing disruption to travel plans. The majority of the clashes occur at night at which time personnel are already advised to minimise their movement as the risk of crime is also assessed to be higher.

The temporary head office of the Tawergha local council in the Falah road area of the city was destroyed in what Tawergha officials claim was a deliberate arson attack. Witnesses reported that gunfire was heard in the vicinity of the building before the fire was started. The fire destroyed all the office equipment and documents as well as the only medical clinic available to Tawergha refugees in the Falah camp. Inhabitants of Tawergha were forced to leave their town by rebels, mostly from Misrata, who claim the area was used as a staging point for attacks on Misrata during the revolution in 2011. There have been a large number of reports of crime and attacks targeting Tawergha citizens in Tripoli, including those living at the Falah camp.

Benghazi
A member of the Saiqa special forces was shot dead by unidentified militants in the Sabri district of the city on 3 April. The individual was reportedly involved in providing protection at the city's airport. Militants have conducted a campaign of attacks targeting current and former members of the security forces, as well as allied militias, in Benghazi over the last year. Further incidents are expected over the coming weeks.

Derna
A member of the judicial police was wounded when unidentified militants opened fire on him from a taxi as he was driving with his wife and two sons in the centre of the city. The officer was the only person injured in the attack, although the injury was not fatal.

Attacks on members of the security forces and government personnel have been common in Derna over the last two years. The city has become known as one of the most high risk locations in Libya given the presence of Islamist and Jihadist groups, as well as criminal gangs, who have conducted scores of assassinations and bomb attacks in the east of the country.

Sabha
Employees of the state-owned Jumhuriya bank began a two day strike after a colleague was shot dead while at work at a branch in Sabha. Criminal attacks on bank staff, particularly those involved in cash-in-transit operations, have been on the increase over recent months. The latest action comes after employees of the Central Bank of Libya held a similar protest calling for more staff protection. The issue highlights the level of lawlessness throughout Libya, where groups responsible are rarely brought to justice.

Awbari    
The manager of the Bank of North Africa in Awbari, who was kidnapped on 24 March, was released on 29 March following the payment of a ransom to his captors. The kidnappers had demanded a ransom of LD 600,000 (US$482,500), although the ransom paid was reported to be LD 150,000 (US$120,600). The rate of kidnapping throughout the country has increased markedly over the last six months, and employees of major banks have been targeted on a number of occasions. This is likely because they are seen as being a better prospect for earning a ransom in return for their release.
    
Oil Industry Blockades
Abb-Rabbo Albarassi, the self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the eastern interim government that supports the rebels blockading vital oil terminals in the area, announced on 31 March that the three ports under rebel control are close to being reopened. The announcement came hours after the government released three rebel fighters who had been seized by US forces following a botched attempt to sell oil on global markets. A government spokesman later confirmed that the government and rebels could reach an agreement within days to re-open the ports, which previously accounted for around 600,000 bpd of exports. Negotiations are still ongoing, but the government also announced that it would be moving the headquarters of the Oil Protection Force to Brega, which was one of the central demands of the rebels.

Meanwhile, on 3 April eight senior members of the rebel militia reportedly quit due to leader Ibrahim Jadhran's failure to consult them on the ongoing negotiations. A spokesman for the rebels also claimed that the talks hinged on whether the government would drop a threat to use force to remove the militia from the sites. If agreement is reached rebel sources claimed that oil exports could return to capacity within a month.

The government is in desperate need of renewed oil receipts to fund its 2014 budget and prevent it from further depleting strategic foreign exchange reserves that were intended for investment in infrastructure and projects aimed at diversifying the government's source of income. Despite the positive indications, the oil and gas sector will face continued uncertainty until a broader agreement is reached that addresses rebel calls for greater regional autonomy and new rules on the sharing of oil revenues. Furthermore a security force will need to be put in place that can guarantee the integrity of strategic facilities, a development that appears unlikely at present.

Political Section
GNC officials stated that there is still no consensus over whether to formally appoint a new prime minister to succeed Ali Zeidan, or continue with former Defence Minister Abdullah al-Thinni until the new congress is elected. Unconfirmed reports indicate that 17 names have been put forward as possible candidates, including three from the east of the country, who have emerged as front runners should any parliamentary vote take place.

Parliament approved an election law on 30 March which means that elections may be held later this year. A decision to extend the mandate of the current parliament, whose original term ran out on 7 February, caused anger among many Libyans who took part in large demonstrations calling for new elections. The law bans party lists from being created, which means that all candidates will be required to run as independent parliamentarians. The legislature has been deadlocked between Islamists and nationalists, which has exacerbated existing crises and political stagnation.

Meanwhile, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) accused Société Générale of directing bribes worth tens of millions of dollars to Saif al-Islam, the son of former dictator Muammer Gaddafi. The accusation arose from a US$1.5bln lawsuit filed in London, in which the LIA is attempting to recover money from Société Générale for advisory services and fees associated with highly unsuccessful derivatives trades made between 2007 and 2009. Société Générale denied any wrongdoing and stated it would defend itself vigorously in court.

AKE is a leading international security risk-mitigation and analysis provider to international businesses, insurers, NGOs and news media. Founded in 1991 by Andrew Kain, AKE distinguishes itself from other security firms by taking a needs- and intelligence-led approach to assessing, monitoring, training for and protecting against risk. For security assistance on the situation in Libya please contact operations@akegroup.com or call +44 (0) 1432 267 111. For intelligence contact intel@akegroup.com for further information.

If you would like to contribute to this section of the LBBC website, in the first instance please contact the Secretariat at: secretariat@lbbc.org.uk or call +44 (0) 20 7152 4051