The 2012/12/07 at 08:08
Economic recovery is the order of the day in Libya. A special mission aimed at supporting agro-industrial activities is taking place in the country from 2 to 7 December. Organised by the Bureau des Opérations Internationales (Office of International Operations), in conjunction with the Franco-Libyan Chamber of Commerce (CCFL), the Ubifrance office in Tripoli, the association Bretagne International and ADEPTA (Association pour le Développement des Echanges Internationaux de Produits et Techniques Agroalimentaires or the Agency for the Development of International Cooperation in the Areas of Agriculture, Food and Rural Space), the event aims to improve the definition of the regulatory framework and the types of collaborations necessary in order for national potential in this domain to be fully exploited.
Over the week, the mission is visiting Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata successively. This is an opportunity to meet Libyan political leaders and entrepreneurs, via workshops for exchange as well as on production sites. In spite of the updating of equipment and the intensification of agriculture, only 25 % of Libyan needs are currently covered, thus forcing the country to import massively in the agro-food sector.
A number of sectors stand out as priorities for development, namely livestock breeding. Sheep, cattle, goat and camel livestock hold strong potential for improvements in animal production. Crops as a whole are also undergoing speedy development. Infrastructures related to irrigation, production and fruit and vegetable transformation also require investments in order to update the stream and meet significant demand. Cereal and date crops as well as grape and olive plantations are other Libyan assets. There are also needs in bread and pastry-making activities, for equipment and materials as well as raw materials. Finally, freshwater and seawater aquaculture, fishing and port infrastructures are amongst the most promising domains.
This Franco-Libyan mission comes as a response to strong demand from the Libyan government and furthers the objectives of the farming and agri-food cluster run by the MEDEF and the CCFL. It is also labelised by the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade. The need to reinforce trade exchanges between France and Libya is at the core of this operation. “As growth is very weak on the French market and even the European one, it is important to go and look for economic development in the countries where demand is strong and where there are financial means to set up projects,” confided Gilles Falc’hun, President of Bretagne Commerce International, during the latest French edition of the SIAL (Salon International de l’Alimentation or Global Food Marketplace), in October this year. This association from Brittany aiming to support the internationalisation of businesses, born from the recent fusion of the Bretagne International and CCI International Bretagne networks, is one of the partners of the event, and is placing its bets on Libya’s potential for the export of regional products and savoir-faire.
The different missions that have visited Libya since 2011, including Ubifrance’s latest agricultural auditing mission, have confirmed the country’s potential and considerable opportunities in the agricultural and agri-industrial streams, backed up by the development of the private sector as desired by the government. The visit of the Libyan Deputy Minister of Agriculture to the Salon International de l’Agriculture allowed, during bilateral meetings, progress to be made on projects and the setting up of hygiene agreements for meat and cattle semen imports.
For the moment, France’s economic and trade exchanges with Libya remain relatively modest. Marked by a structural trade deficit, bilateral exchanges have fluctuated from one year to the next. Over 99 % of French imports of Libyan products consist of hydrocarbons. The energy domain is a key to trade and investments, even if French companies are increasingly interested in the aeronautics sector, public infrastructures, telecommunications, transport and tourism. It should be noted that an Accord d’Encouragement et de Protection Réciproque des Investissements (API or Agreement for the Mutual Protection of Investments), signed on 19 April 2004, is currently in place, as well as a tax treaty to avoid double taxation, in force since 1 July 2008.