Egyptian Libyan borders CC
CAIRO – 22 April 2021: Libya will be in need for 3 million workers, mostly will be Egyptians, for reconstruction when the situation settles down in the North African country, said head of the Libyan Union for Contractors Engineer Abdel-Maguid Kashir
“Libya’s reconstruction process requires nearly 3 million workers, most of whom will be Egyptians. This is due to the social rapprochement [between the two bordering countries],” he told Al-Dostor newspaper on Thursday. He affirmed that Libya needs more than 320 billion dollars to rebuild it.
Libya has been a main destination for many Egyptians to seek jobs due to “geographical proximity and various open border policies that until 2006 allowed Egyptians to enter and reside in Libya with ID only,” according to a 2010 report from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Since the February 2011 revolution that overthrew long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has become the largest security threat facing Egypt due to the civil war sparked between Libyan factions.
Due to the security breakdown in eastern Libya, Egyptian workers have increasingly become victims of kidnappings and murder by jihadist groups. In February 2015, 21 Coptic Christian laborers were kidnapped and beheaded by the Islamic State.
The crisis in Libya has led to an exacerbation of Egypt’s unemployment problem, as millions of Egyptians who used to work in Libya have fled the conflict.
According to the IOM report, an estimated 330,000 to 1.5 million Egyptians were working in Libya before the civil war, who predominantly came from rural areas and Lower Egypt; the majority of them have completed only a basic education.
After the crisis had been sparked, many Egyptian residents fled Libya through the Ras Jedir crossing, but many of them have been stuck in Libyan-Tunisian borders after Tunisia had closed the crossing due to the increasing influx of Libyan refugees. Many Egyptians have been killed or robbed on border.
In this regard, the government facilitated the departure of Egyptian workers fleeing Libya by sending flights to Tunisia to transport them, as 46 planes were utilized to transport passengers from the Djerba and Gebes airports in Tunisia. Egypt intensified its communication with the Tunisian authorities to help with the evacuation of Egyptians on the border.
Additional reporting by Marina Gamil