Although Libya’s efforts to attract investment are overseen from the capital, Tripoli, the Misrata municipal council, business associations and companies operating in the private sector are helping bring foreign direct investment into the city and wider district.

The Misurata Free Zone (MFZ) is the city’s most prominent magnet for foreign investment. The zone offers and promotes a number of financial incentives, such as no Customs duties, taxes or hidden charges on imports and exports, as well as no Customs duties or taxes on locally sourced raw materials. These incentives, along with allowing 100% foreign ownership of MFZbased companies and an exemption from national commercial registration obligations, have been key to attracting business entities to Misrata. In March 2023 the MFZ announced that it had made over 565 ha of its more than 3500 ha ready for investors.

Turkey has been one of Libya and Misrata’s keenest trade and investment partners since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The sharp increase in exports and overall investment from Turkey has been substantial in both Misrata and Libya’s business landscape. One of the most notable projects in recent years was the 120-bed LibyanTurkish Hospital built by Turkish conglomerate Karanfil Group that was inaugurated in the city in November 2022. Although Tripoli is the country’s most populous city, the fact that Misrata was chosen to host the country’s first Libyan-Turkish hospital is a testament to its attractiveness for Turkish investors (see Health chapter).

There are also prospects for further investment from European countries. In April 2023 Caroline Hurndall – the British ambassador to Tripoli – and free zone officials discussed inward investment in the MFZ and the benefits that British companies could derive by establishing operations in the free zone. In May 2023 Mustafa Al Mahraj, the French ambassador to Tripoli, visited prominent agri-business facilities in Misrata and the nearby city of Zliten, such as the Al Naseem dairy factory and Whiba Holding’s Dafnia industrial complex. The ambassador also spoke with MFZ representatives to promote French investment in the free zone.

Misrata is also seeing interest from further afield. In March 2023 the Chinese conglomerate Wangkang Group launched Al Sharq, a local ceramics subsidiary, in the MFZ. The prospect for growth and further trade with Chinese firms is significant, especially considering that Wangkang Group’s African subsidiaries account for an estimated 25% of the continent’s ceramic tile production capacity, and the group’s existing trade networks and partnerships are already tightly interwoven with global supply chains.