Libya Economy and Communications

By | December 24, 2021

Agrarian colonization and other economic activities. – The land currently indemaniati totals 770,000 ha. of which 440,000 indemaniati in recent years; those under concession exceed 167,000 ha. In western Libya, farms exceed 525, with 1500 farm families (around 10,000 people) and around 1200 houses built. In recent years, the activity of the Libyan Colonization Authority, which already owns over 155,000 ha, has been very remarkable. of land in western Libya and 15,000 in Cyrenaica. Here new agricultural villages have sprung up in the plain of Barce and on the Gebel (Duca degli Abruzzi village, Luigi Razza village, etc.), while on the Tripolino Gebel the colonization of a vast area around Tarhuna began in 1935.

The olive grove area now exceeds 56,500 hectares, of which over 29,000 are specialized crops; the number of existing olive trees is estimated at 2 million of which 700,000 are indigenous. The almond grove area approaches 29,000 ha. (mostly with associated cultivation) with about 1,300,000 trees; the vineyard area covers about 8000 ha. with 21 million plants. For Libya 1998, please check

The livestock population is now estimated at 810.000 sheep (of which 600.000 in Tripolitania), 470.000 goats (of which 400.000 in Tripolitania), 60.000 cattle (49.000 in Tripolitania), 35.500 donkeys (30.000 in Tripolitania), 9000 horses and 57.000 camels (of which 48,000 in Tripolitania). The livestock patrimony, which has suffered the consequences, in Tripolitania, of recent periods of severe drought, in Cyrenaica, of the internal situation and of military operations, is being rapidly restored. Western Libya could feed over a million sheep, eastern Libya 2 million; the number of goats could have doubled. A large livestock station was created in Sidi Mesri near Tripoli.

As for fishing, the number of traps in operation in western Libya rose to 10 in 1936; they gave about 1,240,000 quintals of tuna, for a value of almost 8 million lire. Sponge fishing, carried out by mostly Italian shipowners, has decreased on the Cyrenaic coasts, while it has resumed since 1936 in the waters of western Libya. In 1936 it gave around 60,000 kg. of products, equal to approximately 7 million lire.

Among the industries, those that have taken on the greatest development in recent years are the manufacture of tobacco which ensures an annual income of almost 7 million lire, the wine industry (10,000 hl.), Which is rapidly increasing, and the oil industry.

Trade and ports. – The import trade has been in strong growth in recent years: in western Libya it has risen from 153,043,000 lire in 1933 to 198,334,000 in 1935 and to 263,253,000 in 1936; in eastern Libya from 125,069,000 in 1933 to 199,752,000 in 1935. Export trade also tends to increase, but less rapidly: Libya 28,068,000 in 1933, 36,120,000 in 1935 in western Libya; 14,185,000 in 1933 and 25,032,000 in 1935 in eastern Libya. The biggest increases in exports are marked by raw hides, natural wool and tuna. The movement of the main ports for 1935 is shown by the table at the bottom of the page. Mechanically propelled navigation prevails; sailing has now a completely secondary importance. The Italian flag absorbs more than nine tenths of the traffic.

In western Libya, Tripoli has absolute prevalence over other ports, which is also justified by the port facilities, which are now complete. Second at a great distance, in the movement of goods and travelers, is Misurata; followed by Sliten and Sirte. In eastern Libya, Benghazi absorbs only half of the freight movement and three-fifths of the passenger movement. Tobruk and Derna follow; at a great distance Apollonia. However, the works for the improvement of the port of Benghazi are proceeding briskly: the superstructure of the main pier is almost completed.

Communications. – The need for the construction of new railway lines in Libya has not emerged in recent years, because the extension of the lorry network and the consequent development of car traffic meet the economic needs and those of the movement of foreigners. The road network now makes it possible to travel through Libya in any direction up to the furthest southern garrisons. The most impressive work is the grandiose Libyan coastal road, 1822 km long, completed in March 1937 and solemnly inaugurated by Mussolini, which ensures communications from the border of Tunisia to that of Egypt: about 800 km. it were built exnovo in recent years, everything else has been completely renovated and refitted. The road services are provided by a body of 350 national roadmen (in addition to 450 indigenous), who are also employed in agricultural and pastoral farms attached to the roadside wardens. A special Office for the Road has been set up in Tripoli reporting directly to the government. The car lines in regular public service include the sections: Tripoli-Misurata-Sirte; Tripoli-Garian-Iefren-Nalut; Tripoli-Tarhuna-Beni Ulíd; Benghazi-Agedabia; Bengasi-Cirene-Derna (with double itinerary) for a total length of 1550 km. There are also two big tourism lines: the Tripoli-Nalut-Gadámes (680 km.) And the Tripoli-Gabes-Tunis.

The aerial communications, managed by the Ala Littoria, are excellent and their movement is constantly increasing. The most important line is the Rome-Naples-Syracuse-Tripoli; Tripoli-Sirte-Benghazi follows. Another line, Rome-Syracuse-Benghazi, then proceeding to Egypt and Sudan, provides communications with the Empire. Recently built are the large airports of Castel Benito (Tripoli) and Benina (Bengasi).

The tourist movement is also in great increase, determined by the interest for the town itself and for the imposing work of enhancement carried out, no less than by the stupendous vestiges of Roman times, which excavations and grandiose restorations bring to light each year better. The very flourishing trade fair and the so-called Tripoli car race also attract foreigners. The hotel industry has made great progress and offers large and sumptuous hospitality, not only in major centers, such as Tripoli and Benghazi, but in Homs, Garian, Iefren, Gadámes, Sirte, etc. The absolute safety of the whole country allows individuals to walk along it to contemplate the most typical aspects of the desert.

Libya plants