The U.N. special envoy for Libya warned that signs of partition are already evident in the troubled North African nation and urged influential nations to pressure Libya’s rival leaders to urgently finalize the constitutional basis for elections. Bathily told the U.N. Security Council that the continuing disagreement between the two rivals — specifically, the speaker of Libya’s HoR, Aguila Saleh, and Khaled al-Mashri, the president of the HSC based— on a limited number of provisions in the constitution “can no longer serve as a justification to hold an entire country hostage.” If the two institutions can’t reach an agreement swiftly, Bathily said, “an alternative mechanism”, can and should be used “to alleviate the sufferings caused by outdated and open-ended interim political arrangements.” He did not elaborate on what that mechanism could be. Read more from UNSMIL.
Visa has pledged to invest $1 billion in Africa to accelerate digital transformation. The announcement was made during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington on Dec 14. Visa will use the money to scale operations, deploy new technologies and deepen collaboration with its partners in the next five years. These include merchants, governments, financial institutions (FIs), FinTechs, and mobile network operators, according to a corresponding press release. The inclusion of mobile network operators reflects the different role Visa plays in Africa’s payment ecosystem compared to the United States. As well as acting as a partner to banks that issue credit and debit cards, Visa’s African operations require it to work alongside the continent’s mobile money and alternative payment FinTechs, which use solutions including mobile wallets and virtual cards to bring digital payments to unbanked populations. Read more from PYMNTS.
Libya is still a traditional cash-driven economy. ATMs are relatively few in number; those that work even fewer. It is the same with electronic points of sale (POS) in stores and businesses. E-payments are the exception, not the rule when Libyans go shopping. But that is changing – and changing fast. So say both Alsanussi Abukhzam, general manager of Moamalat, the public-sector financial services company providing e-services in Libya, and Hani Alsaoudi, sales manager at its private-sector rival, Tadawul. Driving growth for both is competition between them and, more importantly, changes in the regulations. Read more from the Libya Herald.
Libya’s central bank governor Sadiq Al-Kabir said Libya needs to boost oil production to enact sweeping development plans and diversify an economy heavily reliant on energy exports. Output needs to be at least 1.4 million barrels per day “if we want to make a shift in Libya’s economy,” Sadiq Al-Kabir told Bloomberg from the capital, Tripoli. The North African nation is currently pumping about 1.2 million, which he described as not enough to cover hikes in government spending should crude prices fall below $70 a barrel. More oil income would allow Libya to “expand development and infrastructure projects, stimulate the private sector and diversify the economy and sources of income,” the governor said, without elaborating. Read more from Bloomberg.