News / Africa

What Will Become of Libya's African Investment After Gadhafi?

The entrance to the Rixos hotel is deserted in Tripoli, Libya, August 22, 2011
The entrance to the Rixos hotel is deserted in Tripoli, Libya, August 22, 2011
Gabe Joselow

As Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi faces defeat at the hands of a popular uprising, he is still well-regarded across much of Africa for his legacy of generosity.

Television images revealed the treasures of a decadent lifestyle, including gold-plated handguns and an indoor swimming pool.

But beyond his personal wealth, the government of Colonel Gadhafi also invested heavily in East Africa.

A Libyan-financed hotel towers over Sudan's capital, Khartoum, and has been nicknamed Gadhafi's egg because of its unique shape. Other Libyan luxury hotels stand tall in the capitals of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

The country also has been one of the biggest contributors to the African Union as well as the African Development Bank.

As Colonel Gadhafi's reign comes to an end, this legacy of investment may unravel.

“Libya now needs to spend its money at home in needs resources both for reconstruction, not only from the damage from the war, but also from the lack of investment in Libya, the neglect during Gadhafi's almost 42 years in power," said J. Peter Pham, the Director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington. "So I think a lot of money will have to come home, so there probably will be a liquidation of many of these assets.”

Countries in East Africa have frozen Libyan assets, in accordance with a United Nations resolution.

But efforts are already underway to unlock the funds so they can be used by anti-Gadhafi forces.

Kenyan government spokesman Francis Mwaka says Kenya is aware of the potential that investments will be pulled, but does not think it will have a major impact.

“We are not going to have anything dramatic, anything serious or radical change, but legally, the property of the Libyan people will belong to the Libyan people according to the contracts, the way they were signed and the protocols,” said Mwaka.

Kenya implicitly recognized Libya's Transitional National Council in a statement last week that noted the “impending collapse” of the Gadhafi government.

Kenya's neighbor, Uganda, on the other hand has still not acknowledged the rebels' authority.

Ugandan government spokesperson Fred Opolot explains that decision.

“First and foremost, the government of Uganda has really continuosly reiterated that the Uganda's foreign policy is built on the principles of relations with states and not with individuals," he said. "And indeed, Uganda has maintained cordial relations with Libya and shall continue.”

Libya has invested $375 million in Uganda through the multi-billion dollar Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio.  And Libyan companies have taken shares in the Ugandan telecom and banking sectors.

Given a long and lucrative history with Libya, Uganda's reluctance to recognize the NTC
is not unexpected.

Uganda's position is also in line with the African Union, which has been waiting for the prospective Libyan government to take shape before acknowledging its authority.

But Pham of the Atlantic Council says that policy may hurt future relations with Libya's new leadership.

“There's going to be a lot of resentment to Africa, both because of money that's been spent there and secondly because the African Union and many African leaders, with a few notable exceptions, stood by Gadhafi instead of with the Libyan people,” said Pham.

Pham says that it is also possible Libya will focus its foreign policy more on the Arab League, which supported the NATO air campaign backing rebel fighters.

Whatever the outcome of the war, it seems unlikely that the new Libyan leaders will envision as strong a kinship with the continent as a man who once declared himself Africa's "king of kings."

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid