News Analysis: Egypt to actively partake in Libya’s reconstruction

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Posted – 11th May 2021

After years-long instability that heavily hit the influx of Egyptian workers to Libya, Egypt is likely to take a large share in the reconstruction projects in the war-torn country, according to Egyptian experts.

“Libya will need at least 3 million workers, mostly to be Egyptians, for the reconstruction work when the security conditions improve in the North African country,” said Hamdi Imam, chairman of the Division of Recruitment Companies at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce.

Libya has been the main destination for nearly 2 million Egyptian workers before the civil war that wreaked havoc in the country for a decade, he told Xinhua.

Egypt and Libya on April 20 signed 11 memorandums of understanding in the fields of health, substructure, housing, transportation, electricity, communication, and manpower during the visit of Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly to Libya’s capital Tripoli.

The deals will allow Egyptian workers to return to the labor market in Libya, especially the construction field, once the reopening procedures of the Egyptian embassy and consulate general in Tripoli are completed by the end of May.

Egypt closed its diplomatic headquarters in Libya in 2014 after gunmen stormed the consulate general in Tripoli and kidnaped four diplomats.

The two countries also agreed last month to resume passenger flights between Cairo and Tripoli.

Following the visit to Libya, Madbouly said the deals reflected Egypt’s strong support for the Libyan territorial integrity and unity, adding that “the Egyptian political leadership backs all measures taken by Libya’s Government of National Unity that would bring development to Libya in the coming period.”

On April 23, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi instructed his government to organize travels of Egyptian workers to Libya based on their competence, specialization, and experience.

“Egypt has been working for restoring stability and security in the neighboring country that shares 1,200-km-long common borders,” Imam said.

Gamal Bayoumi, head of the Cairo-based Arab Investors Union, said both countries will share interests in the reconstruction projects.

He stressed that Libya has restored its security balance to a great extent and can attract companies for investing in its lands.

Before the uprising and the killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011, Egyptian workers were allowed to enter and reside there with Egyptian national IDs.

According to a report by the International Organization of Migration in 2010, an estimated 1.5 million Egyptians were working in Libya, most of whom came from rural areas and southern Egypt.

But then the Egyptian workers were kidnapped, killed, or robbed at the borders due to security chaos, and tens of thousands of them returned home, which add more burdens on Egypt’s unemployment rates.

“Egypt owns mega construction companies that participated in boosting Libya’s projects in the past few years which has encouraged the Libyan government to seek their cooperation,” said Bayoumi.

The economic expert affirmed that Egypt has paid tremendous efforts with regional and international partners to pave the road for a transitional political process in Libya.

On Feb. 18, Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah stressed in his meeting with President Sisi in Cairo his country’s keenness to establish a comprehensive partnership with Egypt

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