Definition of Youth

Given the lack of youth policy and structured youth programming in Libya, an age range for youth has not been possible to identify.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • --
  • 18
  • XX
  • Female
  • --
  • 18
  • XX

  • According to Islamic law, marriage requires parental consent. Homosexual acts illegal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
In general, a child under 14 is not criminally liable. A judge can take "appropriate measures" for children 7-14 years old. Source:  UN Child Rights Periodic Report

Majority Age


Source: CRC/C/28/Add.6 (1996)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 99.97% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.93% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • --Male %
  • -- Female %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 11.00% Male (13-15) %
  • 5.00% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
There is no functioning youth policy or strategy in Libya. Current efforts concentrate on youth employment.

After the revolution of 2011, the National Transitional Council (now defunct) issued a Constitutional Declaration. Youth are mentioned in Article 5, which states that “[t]he State shall take care of children, youth and the handicapped.” According to the Libya Herald, a Commission will create Libya’s new constitution. Education and employment have been policy focuses post-revolution. Libya – Building the Future with Youth (2013), notes that education needs to focus on quality, competencies, higher performance and student-led learning:

Today, it is not longer sufficient to enrol eligible children in schools, and to educate skills with conventional didactics; issues of quality and meeting the changing requirements of the labour market constitute pressing challenges for the education system of a Libya.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Ministry of Youth & Sports is responsible for youth affairs. The official Facebook Page notes that the Ministry was established under the transitional government in 2011 and is “working on the foundation of service for all young men and women to free Libya.” After the end of the Libyan revolution in 2011, the National Transitional Council (NTC) formed the Government after the fall of Colonel Gaddafi. The NTC was dissolved in 2012 with power transferred to the democratically elected General National Congress.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Libyan Youth Forum (LYF) aims to “establish a national / international forum with a view to build one safe and prosperous nation for all Libyans.” It acts as a “coalition between the Libyan Youth Movement, Libya Hurra Live Stream and the Libyan Link whom had collectively over 150,000 thousand supporters during the revolution.” According to the official LYF Facebook page, it “coordinat[es] the efforts of youth groups in support of Libya” and advocates for recommendations devised by Libyan youth to be taken into account by decision-makers.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
LYD 138 million
USD 110 million
According to the Libya Herald, the Ministry of Youth and Sports was allocated LYD 138 million (USD 110 million) in the 2012 budget. It is unclear what proportion of the total ministry budget was spend on youth affairs. The Ministry of Education was allocated the largest ministerial budget of LYD 4.6 billion (USD 3.6 billion). The Libya Herald reports that the 2013/14 budget was passed in 2013, but provides no further details. The World Bank lists no data on public spending on education in Libya for the last ten years.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

In The Revolutionary Promise: Youth perceptions in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia (2013), the British Council led a research study into the expectations and aspirations of young people post-revolution:

Participants in our study indicate that Libyan society trusts its youth more than it does its older generation. Nevertheless, increased trust in youth since the revolution has not been translated into youth participation in political positions, and youth overall are still politically marginalised. The reasons for this marginalisation are equally attributed to both society and to youth themselves. Our respondents strongly object to the amount of experience required to enter into politics. In their opinion, no one in Libya has political experience unless they were working with Gaddafi, which should now make them illegitimate to lead. The youth conclude that a better measure for capability is educational qualifications.

Gender emerged as a strong theme among Libyan youth participants. Although women have managed to become successful in civil society, it is recognised that significant barriers still exist for their gender to participate politically. Despite these challenges, most activists believe that women have significantly benefited from the revolution. Now, they say, women can participate in any activity. On another note, despite the noted rise in tribalism and regionalism in the social structure, most activists believe that social cohesion has improved since the revolution. Most activists described the level of cohesion and trust as being at its peak during the revolution and up until the liberation. The reason for this was that until liberation there was one common goal: defeating the Gaddafi regime. Trust in groups began to deteriorate, however, as soon as the political process was initiated following the liberation of Tripoli.

Despite their desire to lower the barriers to entry for youth engagement in politics, most of our study participants voiced a reluctance to take on political work. Elections are still new and young people feel that they are ill equipped with information on how to enter politics. Instead, youth’s route to politics seems to be indirectly through involvement in the work of CSOs that engage in politics, and the most successful CSOs are managed by youth. Some participants believe that youth have not yet earned society’s trust and should therefore orient themselves towards earning that trust to prove that they are capable of handling responsibility.

In assessing the role of youth in civil society, our participants from Libya are all adamant that youth are civil society and all civil society is youth. This claim is not without grounds as civil society was non-existent before the 17 February revolution. They concede that while older generations provide a great deal of support, all of the reform work itself is done by the younger generation. Participants are confident that young Libyans are the ones who are most creative and contribute more ideas and work than their elders. However, in assessing the current state of civil society in Libya, the picture is less than perfect: participants think civil society is growing weaker over time, and there is a negative attitude towards those organisations that have transformed themselves into political parties.

Libya – Building the Future with Youth (2013) focuses upon education and employment in post-revolution Libya. It calls for significant changes in the education system and closer synergy between learning and employment:

Following the downfall of Libya’s former dictator, the country’s transitional government faces a difficult legacy. The peaceful reconstruction of the country, which has a population of around 6 million people, will depend to a large degree on how quickly it succeeds in involving its youth in the national dialogue on broad and fundamental social change processes. This will provide these young people with the prospects for employment and income that they have been demonstrating for since February 2011 – first of all in Benghazi and Misrata, then in Al-Zawija and Tripoli. They were calling for the resignation of the autocratic ruler, democracy, liberty, and participation, and protesting against corruption and the widespread unemployment that persisted despite the economic boom. Until the revolution, the Libyan state was drawing revenues of around USD 100 million a day from oil and gas business. Although it was investing considerable sums in the economy and in the social sectors of education and health, ultimately this was not very efficient. The younger generation were not being suitably prepared for the demands of the labour market in a globalised world. In Libya’s training institutions, skills that were in particularly high demand in the private sector were being developed and transferred on a rudimentary basis only. This was one of the reasons why some 5 million foreign workers were employed in services and other sectors of the economy, even as youth unemployment alone stood at an estimated 30 per cent.

Restructuring the entire education system – including preschool education, general education, technical and vocational education and training, higher education and research – is certainly one of the most difficult challenges in the transformation process. It must be tackled if the serious failings of education policy in recent decades are to be over- come. Libya is among those countries in the Arab region that can boast an almost 100 per cent track record in enrolling boys and girls and helping them complete their nine years of basic schooling, thus achieving the international goal of Education for All. Although secondary education options (three years of specialised secondary education or vocational training) did exist for the vast majority of young people, usually followed by a university degree, only rarely did the qualifications acquired enable the young people concerned to embark on the careers that they had hoped for. This was due in part to the lack of job opportunities, but to a greater extent to the considerable deficits in the quality of the education and training provided. Libya is therefore one of a number of Arab countries – from the Gulf to North Africa – that needs to invest massively in educational reforms. Essentially this will involve changing curricular content, as there is a need to strengthen and pro- mote mathematics, the natural sciences, the use of IT and foreign languages. It will also be necessary to change the way teachers teach and students learn, and to accommodate all the consequences this will have for teacher training at all levels of the education system. Here too it will be necessary to develop critical thinking, which has been called for emphatically in the recent past, not least since publication of the Arab Knowledge Report in 2009.