The free zone, which forms part of the north-south trade axis between Europe and Africa, aims to attract businesses through fiscal incentives, including exemptions from personal and corporate income tax, along with Customs duties or taxes on imports and exports. The zone is home to some of the country’s leading financial institutions, such as Jumhouria Bank, which is Libya’s largest, and the Libyan Foreign Bank, in which the Central Bank of Libya has a 100% stake.

Misrata has a skilled and industrious labour force that is playing a pivotal role in driving development. Educational institutions, such as Misurata University and other technical training centres, have nurtured a talent pool for engineering, technology and manufacturing entities (see Education chapter). This well-educated workforce fosters innovation, attracts investment and supports entrepreneurship. The combination of a skilled labour force and a conducive business environment fuels productivity, contributing to Misrata’s economic growth. Given the city’s overall stability and prosperity, nonLibyan migrants see the city as a favoured destination, providing a steady source of labour. A 2020 report by the International Organisation for Migration found that around 19% of migrant workers coming through the city had either technical training or a university degree, while 38% spoke Arabic as their mother tongue.

Following the 2011 conflict, Misrata embarked on an ambitious plan to rebuild infrastructure. Investment sought to not only addresses immediate needs, but also lay the foundation for sustainable growth. Upgraded roads, improved utilities and modern public facilities contribute to the favourable environment, attracting investment and facilitating expansion. This is particularly important as Misrata seeks to retain and attract a high calibre of human capital and enhance the quality of life.

In a bid to bolster industrial and urban infrastructure growth, the government brought in local and foreign firms as part of the Return to Life initiative. This rejuvenation programme has led to the reopening of two parks, as well as the opening of the 12-ha Central Park, which is now one of Libya’s largest public spaces.