This volatile prices of school supplies are preventing many children from attending school with the necessary equipment
The economic crisis in Libya continues to impact civilians across the country. The seven-year civil war has led to a decline in state oil revenues, dismemberment of state institutions and a lack of liquidity for banks.
Among those felt particularly hard at this stage are parents and guardians of children who are attempting to buy school supplies after the start of the school year. For some with more than one child or displaced to camps as a result of conflict, the pressure is even greater. Last week, UNICEF said that 10,000 children had been displaced by last month’s clashes in and around Tripoli.
“Prices here vary, they rise at some times and drop at other times,” said one resident from the coastal town of Derna, located in eastern Libya. “There are a lot of problems in Derna such as the lack of liquidity and the lack of bank cards or cheques.”
The volatility of prices are one of the main contributing factors for families seeking their children’s supplies elsewhere. Some families have travelled to Tripoli in the west of the country searching for bags, books, papers and pens.
For those living in towns in the Nafusa Mountains, located south of Tripoli, this represents a 180km journey as goods in the bigger cities tend to be cheaper. The rise in the price of the dollar has also been a contributing factor to the rise in goods.
In September, the tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), and the High State Council agreed a package of economic reforms.
One of the main aims of these reforms was to reduce the gap between the official and black-market exchange rates. While the official exchange rate is 1 dollar to 1.39 Libyan dinar, the black-market rate is 1 dollar to 5.3 Libyan dinar.
Those that have been able to access the official rate and sell at the black market rate have been profiteering from this difference, with the reforms set to introduce a fee to foreign currency exchange that will bring it closer to 1 dollar to 4 Libyan dinar.