Libya’s Divided Central Bank Holds Unified Meeting

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The board of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), whose western and eastern branches have for years been split due to the Libyan conflict, announced it held its first unified meeting in years on Monday.

During the talks, CBL officials discussed the reactivation of the board of directors’ work, including ensuring the stability of prices, supporting the integrity of the banking system, and adjusting the official exchange rate.

Since the country split between rival factions in 2014, different exchange rates for the Libyan dinar have emerged in the east and west, thus aggravating economic problems.

Unifying key institutions, including the CBL, and creating a single exchange rate across Libya have been key goals of the UN-led peace process. These goals are aimed at resolving some of the economic problems obstructing a political solution to the conflict.

In recent weeks, the bank has also been involved in a public dispute with the National Oil Corporation (NOC) over oil revenue and spending. Both have accused each other of inaccurately reporting oil revenues, and the NOC has affirmed it will continue to temporarily stop the transfers of oil revenues to the CBL, preferring to hold them instead in the Libyan Foreign Bank (LFB).

Last week, the UN-led economic working group urged a unified CBL board meeting, and said it supported the NOC in freezing oil revenues “under apolitical management as an exceptional and temporary measure”, until a long-term deal to fairly distribute oil wealth in Libya is agreed upon.