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Project News: Publication of the Study on Libyans Living Abroad

11 November 2020


ICMPD has released the “Study on Libyans living abroad: Profiling of Libyans living abroad to develop a roadmap for strategic and institutional engagement”, which was developed within the framework of the EU-funded “Strategic and institutional management of migration in Libya” project. The Financial Times observed in an editorial in January 2015 that “(T)the Libyan diaspora, a repository of enormous talent, remains largely untapped ”. The aim of this research is hence to shed light on this little explored community and on the current institutional framework for their engagement. This study is designed to serve as first step towards developing Libya’s engagement strategy towards Libyans living abroad.

The study is pertinent as it reflects the increasing local, regional and global interest in the opportunities that the engagement of communities abroad can offer. There has been a growing recognition that the engagement of communities abroad can contribute positively to global policy dialogues and to the development agenda, which is why the region has seen a significant increase in the number of engagement strategies and corresponding policies in this area. For this reason, this study seeks to explore the opportunities that the engagement of communities abroad may offer in the Libyan context as well as to propose a roadmap for the way forward.

Extensive desk research and direct consultations with Libyan stakeholders and Libyans living abroad have identified the realities of the current situation of the Libyan community abroad, including their history, the challenges that they face as well as meaningful opportunities for engagement. The indicative study also explores the diversity of the identities of Libyans who live abroad and considers the different expectations that these communities may have towards their home country and their relationship with it. Hence, the profiling exercise identifies Libyan emigration and reflects the voices and realities of Libyans who live abroad.  

The study proposes a roadmap towards the engagement of Libyans living abroad. The first phase focuses on the development of internal and external capacities to enhance the readiness for the engagement of Libyan communities abroad. Internal capacity building focuses among other on institutional development, on enhancing the skills of key Libyan institutions and their staff (e.g. diplomatic staff) and on developing a strategy for the engagement of Libyans living abroad. External capacity building focuses on developing the network infrastructure of Libyans living abroad in order to facilitate greater cohesion and collaboration across communities, as well as on developing a Donor Relationship Management structure to ensure sustainability of engagement. The second phase is the implementation phase, which focuses on the legislative and policy aspects that need to be established for the engagement of communities abroad. Lastly, the study highlights that communication and trust between Libyan stakeholders and Libyan communities abroad are needed to build meaningful partnership and engagement. 

The study was conducted by Dr. Martin Russell and Dr. Ramadan Sanoussi Belhaj with support from ICMPD. It was developed within the framework of the “Strategic and institutional management of migration in Libya” project, which is financed by the EU. The overall aim of the project is to support the Libyan administration at central and local level, Libyan civil society and academia, in their efforts to develop the prerequisites for migration governance with the aim to improve the management of migration flows and the living conditions of migrants in Libya. 

Download the study here

Read more about the “Strategic and institutional management of migration in Libya” project here