Improbable as it may sound, Libya – the North African nation with which the U.S. government restored diplomatic relations only in May 2006 – is now welcoming American entrepreneurs with open arms. “Libya is a virgin market,” begins a recent State Department report about doing business there. “Opportunities exist in almost every sector.”
Libya is rich in oil, and top energy companies are expanding there. But other possibilities are emerging, starting with tourism. The country has dozens of archaeological sites and 1,100 miles of undeveloped beachfront – attractions that will lure visitors and investors alike.
Originally Libya’s entrepreneurship consisted of processing domestic crops, livestock products and on handicraft products. About 90 percent of the establishments were private. Around 1969, the government implemented policies that where currently being used in Egypt and Algeria. They control production in the private sector. In the 1980’s, the government encouraged development by allocating 2.725 billion to industrial developments.
Women’s entrepreneurship is limited in Libya because of lack of education. However the access of education has improved dramatically over the past few decades. Enrollment for primary school is high and gender gaps in secondary school enrollment have disappeared. Even though with this high enrollment many girls are still excluded from education and the ones enrolled are learning too little to prepare them for the 21st-century job markets.