Back from his business trip to Libya last week, Zaman GM John shares a few thoughts on what Libya has to offer itself and the world in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprising.
“The colours of Libya’s new flag are everywhere and so is the sense of infinite opportunity. After 42 years of not being able to do much at all people now have the clear belief that anything is possible. Tripoli, mostly undamaged by the war, is lively and bustling and according to regular visitors an entirely different environment.
It is, however, unimaginably underdeveloped for an oil rich capital especially when coming from the Gulf. The feeling of frontier is never far beneath the surface and political dialogue still involves taking to the streets. Unsurprisingly global brands are staking their claims.
New cars are everywhere (though old school driving still rules) and mostly Korean. LG and Samsung rule the billboards, the city’s dominant media, selling household electronics that are breaking the back of the electricity grid. Marks & Spencer, BHS, Babyshop, Monoprix now live in shiny new premises that overwhelm the merchants around them. They are demanding a change in lifestyle and if the world is their test case they should get the response they are looking for. But for now the habits of a lifetime are, for the vast majority, unchanged and we hope their intrinsic ‘Libyaness’ will remain strong and prominent as the country takes its new shape.” ~ John Eccles
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