January 28, 2005


Libya plans to shed old and begin a new era (Thomas Crampton, January 28, 2005 International Herald Tribune)

Libya on Friday will unveil its most sweeping proposals for economic reform in 35 years as part of a new national strategy aimed at ushering the country into the modern economic era, Libyan officials said Thursday.

The multi-pronged initiative would streamline government, speed up privatization and liberalize the media sector in a bid to begin a transition from what remains essentially an authoritarian regime to a more liberal economy that is competitive in the region, Seif el-Islam el-Qaddafi, son of the country's ruler, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, and Abdulhafid Mahmoud Zlitni, the chairman of Libya's National Planning Council, said Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

A number of Western advisers, including Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School and Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning economist, have agreed to work with Libya in the transition to craft an efficient framework for implementing the changes over the next two years.

"The old times are finished and Libya is ready to move onto the new stage of modernization," Seif el-Islam el-Qaddafi said in an interview. "This will be conducted in a well organized manner that ensures new openness and ownership by the people of Libya, not a small class of oligarchs like Russia or Egypt."

"We are determined," he added. "But of course success can only be measured by the implementation."

So, if on 9-11 someone had told you that just 40 months later Arab leaders would be taunting each other about who was more committed to genuine liberalization, we're betting you wouldn't have believed them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2005 8:10 AM

Talk is cheap.

Posted by: BJW at January 28, 2005 10:50 AM

Voluntarily giving up a WMD program and negotiating with Israel hard.

Posted by: oj at January 28, 2005 11:08 AM