EU4PSL for private sector development in Libya presents results
The European Union’s EU4PSL project in support of private sector development in Libya presented its results to key stakeholders and beneficiaries in a ceremony in Tripoli on 7 December. Over the past three years, the project contributed to a better business environment, and new job opportunities across Libya, in particular for the youth and women.
"Today, we celebrate the conclusion of the European program to support the private sector in Libya, and we all know that Libya has progressed towards economic development through its private sector. I thank the European Union Delegation, Expertise France and the Libyan experts in all sectors for their contribution to reaching the program's goals. I stress the keenness and desire of the Ministry of Economy and Trade to continue working together for economic recovery, diversification and the development of Libyan competencies," said Minister of Economy and Trade, Mohammed Al-Huweij.
“The private sector is a crucial driver for innovation, new jobs and economic growth in Libya. This is why it is important to create an enabling business environment, encourage entrepreneurship and ensure favourable conditions for innovation, investment and trade. In Libya, the private sector needs new skills, instruments and opportunities to turn ideas into successful business ventures. With EU4PSL we were able to create new platforms to simplify access to economic institutions and to boost start-ups and young entrepreneurs,” said Francesca Cuccia, Programme Manager at the EU Delegation to Libya. “The EU will continue its support to Libya’s private sector also in the future.”
"EU4PSL, is for us a flagship project that shows the relevance of supporting the development of the private sector in Libya. All the great achievements underline the full engagement of all the implicated Libyan stakeholders participating to a more efficient and supportive business environment, key for the private sector harmonious development” said Julien Schmitt, Country representative and programs director at Expertise France in Libya. “On behalf of Expertise France, we are very honoured for the trust of our national and international partners and we want to reaffirm once again our commitment to continue to support the economic development of Libya."
Better institutional services and easy access to support for businesses
EU4PSL worked with the Ministry of Economy and Trade, chambers of commerce and other economic institutions to help create a supportive business environment in Libya.
A new online portal called eJraat simplifies business creation procedures and provides a step-by-step guide to administrative procedures and was launched in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The involved stakeholders are now taking it a step further by working with the General Commercial Registry on creating a single online window for business registration and other business services.
EU4PSL worked with the Chambers of Commerce and General Union of Chambers of Commerce to develop their advisory and advocacy functions. A large national survey identified the profiles and needs of Libyan enterprises in terms of business knowledge and support services, along with operational recommendations to help the government and international donors better shape their economic support to Libya.
The first Chambers of Commerce White Book lists the top common reform priorities identified by Libyan enterprises owners and managers with concrete proposals for improvement.
Economic empowerment of women and youth
In partnership with local CSOs, EU4PSL held three national women entrepreneurs contests in which €120,000 of grants were disbursed to 36 winners; more than 90 jobs were created as a result of the development of the winning businesses.
The involved CSOs have also teamed up with universities to organise entrepreneurship training boot camps that were delivered to 360 of their students. Top innovative ideas were then selected to participate in 3 national student contests receiving significant financial awards from local sponsors.
A 6-month business acceleration programme called Boost it mentored 19 emerging start-ups from 6 different Libyan cities. The participating start-ups received €153,000 in financial support. 84.6 % of them reported an increase in their revenue.
Improved access to finance for MSMEs and start-ups
EU4PSL worked with the Central Bank of Libya and several other financial institutions to support Libyan MSMEs to access finance.
With the support of the leading financial institution Adie France, two microfinance circulars were published by the Central Bank of Libya demanding banks to dedicate 10% of their portfolio to SMEs and adapt their services to meet the needs of micro and small enterprises, thus creating new fund-raising vehicles for business owners.
Six units dedicated to SMEs support were established within Libyan banks and Tadawul Group supported to establish a Venture Capital fund to provide means of financing and investment for the start-up eco-system in Libya.
Entrepreneurship streamlined within education curricula
EU4PSL, together with Lyon 3 university, developed an accredited entrepreneurship module that is now being taught at 9 Libyan universities. The delivery of this module was made possible by training and coaching 44 professors across the country with the support of the South Mediterranean University (SMU) in Tunis.
Entrepreneurship and Innovation units were also created within 11 universities. The staff of these units were coached on how to run practical incubation programmes to support undergraduate students to upgrade their skills and begin their careers.
Eight Junior initiatives were created inside partner universities promoting entrepreneurial skills among students and closing the gap between their academic studies and the labour market.
EU4PSL has also initiated work with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research on a national roadmap for supporting entrepreneurship within higher educational institutions and bridging the gap between graduates and the labour market in collaboration with the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED).
After the successful completion of the EU4PSL (2019-2022) and its preceding project, SLEISDE (2016 -2020), the European Union will continue to support private sector and economic development in Libya through the E-NABLE project (2022-2025), implemented by Expertise France. E-NABLE focuses on economic diversity, sustainability, and digital governance in Libya.