Although the political situation in Libya remains far from certain, the slow and gradual improvement of security in many areas is allowing reconstruction to take place and services to return. Among such services are passport and notary facilities that were damaged, destroyed or simply became non-functional over the course of the country’s conflicts since 2011.
In the city of Kufra, the local passport centres have been activated after a prolonged absence resulting from the destruction of fibre-optic networks linking the city that is far to Libya’s south with the main population centres in the coast. Officials, who blame the destruction of the networks on Chadian or Sudanese gangs, say that the system has now been relaunched using a satellite network. Although the new system allows for the work to continue, its speed leaves much to be desired. Authorities here say that they can only process 60 to 70 passports on a good day, down from 150 to 200. This has led to a steadily-growing backlog of work.
Passport services in the city of Tobruk, meanwhile, grapple with issues such as a lack of equipment, particularly cameras. Indeed, the infrastructure as a whole is struggling to accommodate the rising bureaucratic demand that resulted in the city becoming the headquarters of one of Libya’s House of Representatives-led government. Just like Kufra, slow network speeds remain an issue as well, although the authorities in Tobruk blame the rival Government of National Accord in Tripoli of throttling internet speeds.
Furthermore, the lack of consulates across Libya is also a problem. Many countries closed off their embassies and consulates after conflict broke out in 2011 and have not reopened them since. As a result, Libyans either have to wait a long time to conduct consular businesses. This reflects particularly negatively for those who need to go to other countries for medical treatment. However, Libyan business-people are also adversely effected, limiting the prospects of economic recovery.