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Libya to Revive Plan for Benghazi Free-Trade Area, Official Says

Libya plans to set up a free-trade zone in Benghazi as it seeks to shift its economy away from dependence on oil, government officials said.

The revived plan for Benghazi, the second-biggest city, could help create more than 40,000 jobs and restore its status as a trade hub, Rajab Khalil, undersecretary at the Economy Ministry, said in a televised press conference late yesterday.

Economy Minister Ahmed El-Koushly said that Libya is trying to target new sources of revenue and improve its business climate.

Libya’s transitional government is struggling to restore Libya’s economy amid a deteriorating security situation and inter-militia fighting after last year’s civil war that ended with Muammar Qaddafi’s ouster and killing. While oil production is almost back at pre-war levels, the country has yet to attract significant foreign investment.

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