Research Terms of Reference: Libya Poverty Analysis LBY2111 (December 2021, Version 1)


2. Rationale

2.1 Background

According to the 2021 Libyan population MSNA, many of the needs that currently exist in Libya are driven by economic factors. Overall, 53% of assessed households reported that they were unable to afford all of their basic needs in the 30 days prior to data collection due to insufficient economic resources. Additionally, 28% reported that cost is a key prohibitive barrier to access to healthcare. Finally, 42% of assessed households reported that access to cash was a priority need for them. These findings underpin the importance of economic status for Libyans’ well-being and ability to access services. It has been estimated that the protracted conflict in Libya has had severe macro-economic consequences. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) estimates that the protracted conflict in Libya has costed 783.4 billion Libyan dinars (LYD) (approx 170 billion USD) since 2011 in terms of lost GDP.

Nonetheless, little information exists about income, expenditure, and poverty within Libya. Due to the fragmented governance system in Libya, income data is scarce are rarely covers all regions. Furthermore, when income data is available, it rarely takes into account the significant price differences across regions. This complicates attempts to identify the percentage of households in Libya that live in poverty, and the regions where poverty is most common. The issue is further complicated by the lack of a generally accepted poverty line for Libya. The World Bank’s standard international poverty line of $1,90 (or the alternative lines of $3,20 or $5,50 for lower and upper middle-income countries) per day is hard to implement in the Libyan context due to the presence of two separate exchange rates (one official, one black market). The analysis proposed in this document will attempt to address some of these information gaps and support the identification of assessed households living in economic poverty in 45 baladiyas in Libya.

2.2 Intended impact

The proposed research has been conceptualized in cooperation with the Libya Cash and Markets Working Group (CMWG). Currently, the CMWG uses the JMMI, and more specifically the MEB, to inform their cash programming and the Cash Transfer Value (CTV) for Libya. Expenditure or income data are not typically taken into consideration nor inform decision-making by the CMWG or other actors, as they are scarcely available. The outcomes of this analysis are meant to inform CMWG partners’ decision-making regarding targetting of areas and/or beneficiary profiles, as well as potential other considerations related to cash programming. Additionally, the analysis will inform the general understanding of income distribution and poverty in Libya, benefiting CMWG partners as well as other interested stakeholders.