Libya is hosting the ninth edition of the annual Building and Construction exhibition ‘Build Libya’ in its capital Tripoli.
The exhibition this year comes as part of the north African country’s efforts to boost local and foreign investments and improve its infrastructure two years after the revolution that toppled former president Muammar Qaddafi’s 42-year rule.
Foreign businessmen have rushed in to the boom and the exhibition saw participation from companies from around the world including engineers specializing in infrastructure facilities and construction.
Majed Mahfoud, Executive Manager of the organizing company ‘Atex’, said many new companies were attracted to the exhibition this year.
“This is the ninth version of Libya Build exhibition which is the biggest specialist exhibition in Libya, this is the first time it takes place outside Tripoli international fare because of requests by companies to extend the space, so we provided a 15 percent extension which was constructed after the liberation. In this exhibition, we have 715 companies from 27 countries,” said Mahfoud.
During the Qaddafi era, Libya’s lucrative oil and gas industry made tourism less of a priority than in Egypt and Tunisia, where it was a major contributor of jobs and foreign revenues before the uprisings in those countries.
But despite a downturn in tourist numbers and continued violence around the country, the unrest looks unlikely to deter investors like Terper Tent.
Tent hoped to work together with the Libyan people to rebuild Libya during its political transition.
“I wish I can have very good business in Misrata after the revolution and I hope that I can work together with Libyan people to make this country more beautiful than before,” said Tent.
A Libyan central bank official in 2010 estimated tourism could account for between 3 and 4 percent of the economy within five to ten years, depending on how much effort the country’s new government puts into it.
The construction manager of Shokrowa-Misrata, Albaronal, said the security situation in the country has improved.
“In the beginning there were some security problems all over the city but now it is ok they take control of the city, it is quiet reasonable here, there is no problem here in the city, people are willing to work to help the development of the country itself because there are many things demolished here and destroyed so there are many things to do in the country,” he said.
Mario, a worker at the international company ‘Feretti’ said he was hopeful about the country’s progression after the revolution.
“I am here since six months I am working here very good because in Libya, everything is starting new after the war, after the fighting, the economy is starting again, it is raising, there are many jobs, there are many companies here, many investments, I think that we can do good,” said Mario.
“The security factor had a big role in the beginning because the companies would listen to what the media says about the events taking place here, but when they started visiting the company and attending meetings they started to feel much more comfortable,” said Ali Sasi, Project General Manager at Steel Factory in Misrata.
A country still rebuilding from civil war and prowled by loosely-governed bands of idle and heavily armed youths, Libya is stepping back into its old role as North Africa’s answer to the Gulf petro-states, discreetly deploying its cash to secure its interests.
Libya Build exhibition took place during the period of 19-23 May 2013.