General Electric, the biggest maker of power-generation equipment, expects to generate as much as US$10bn in revenue from Libya, as the North African country vies to rebuild its economy, infrastructure, and institutions, and respond to the demands of its population, the company’s regional President and CEO Nabil Habayeb said in an interview with Arabian Business.
"The needs of states need to be addressed'' and are "magnified after the Arab Spring", Habayeb said. "There is the wealth in a lot of countries to be able to support meeting those needs; the challenge is for countries that don’t have the same wealth from the petrodollars."
In Libya, where the regime of Muammar Gaddafi was toppled during the wave of revolts that swept the region last year, Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE sees a large market for all of its business segments and has been in talks with the provisional government.
"The country needs everything, development of oil and gas, which will create the wealth to improve the life of people, clean water, reliable power, a good healthcare system, building the transportation system both rail as well as the aviation system so that you can get the economy going - all of these things are areas of focus for us in Libya, like we did in Iraq,’’ Habayeb said.
Libya, which has about 3.5 percent of the world’s proven crude oil reserves, produced - before the revolt against Gaddafi - about 1.77m bpd of crude oil, equivalent to 2 percent of global output and close to 0.2m barrels-equivalent of natural gas, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Oil production fell to 22,000 bpd in July 2011 and output was restored rapidly in the last quarter of 2011 to half the pre-conflict level.
Unemployment in the country before the revolution was about 26 percent. Libya is the only Arab country where more men are unemployed than women, according to the Arab League. The report says that female unemployment in the country is running at 18 percent, against 21 percent among men.
"As the momentum starts building up, Libya could be another Iraq, another Saudi Arabia, there’s going to be huge infrastructure projects,’’ Habayeb said, adding "over the next three to four years it will be anywhere between US$6bn and US$10bn’’ in revenue for the company.
After contracting 61 percent last year, the North African country’s economy is forecast to surge by 76.3 percent in 2012, according to the IMF.
"One of the things that governments, especially those that went through a transition because of the Arab Spring, the big factor for them is credibility and how quickly are they going to be able to deliver on the promises and expectations of people,’’ Habayeb said.
By / Arabian Business