Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi, commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He governed Libya as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977, and then as the “Brotherly Leader” of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 until the revolt against him and eventual killing in 2011. Gaddafi’s domestic popularity stemmed from his overthrow of the monarchy, his removal of the Italian settlers and both American and British air bases from Libyan territory, and his redistribution of the country’s land on a more equitable basis.
Despite the infamous notoriety surrounding his Muammar al-Gaddafi’s name, he made great contributions to Libya and was mourned as a hero by many across Sub-Saharan Africa. While undeniably a dictator, Gaddafi was the most benevolent in a region that only knew dictatorship, and that he was a great man that looked out for his people and made them the envy of all of Africa. Under his rule Libya was one of the fastest growing economy powerhouse houses and was often termed as the ‘Middle East of Africa’.
Great achievements Muammar Gaddafi made to Libya
Muammar Gaddafi made the following positive contributions to Libya during his 42-year rule.
1. Education was free
During Gaddafi’s tenure, all education to university level was paid by the government. Those who were not able to access their desired education courses in Libya were funded to pursue them abroad by the government. This helped increase the literacy rate from 25% to 87%.
2. Medical treatment was free
Under Gaddafi medical treatment in Libyan public hospitals was free. In case of specialized treatment abroad, the government took care of that too.
3. Universal healthcare
Libya under Gaddafi achieved universal free healthcare, with diseases like cholera and typhoid being contained and life expectancy raised.
4. Having a home was considered a basic human right
Shelter was considered a natural human right for every Libyan citizen. Homes in Libya were owned by individuals and families, and were not supposed to be owned by others for renting. This was meant to combat homelessness in the country.
5. Electricity was free
Electricity in Libya under Gaddafi was absolutely free. Thus, there were no electricity bills.
6. World’s largest irrigation project
Gaddafi carried out the largest irrigation system in the world that was meant to make water available to every home in Libya. The project was funded by Gaddafi himself and often called it ‘the eighth wonder of the world’.
7. Free farming business
If any citizen had interest in stating a farming business, then the government could provide land, seeds, house and livestock free of charge.
8. Bursary to newborn mothers
When a woman gave birth, the government gave her $5,000 for her and child upkeep.
9. Cheap petrol
Price of petrol in Libya under Gaddafi was the lowest in the world at $0.14 per litre.
10. Bursary to newlyweds
When people married, they were given $50,000 by the government to start their life.
11. Zero interest rates
In adherence to the Sharia Law in Islam, there were no interests charged on loans.
12. Subsidies on cars
When a person wanted to buy a car, the government subsidized its price up to 50%.
13. Low commodity prices
The price of commodities in Libya under Gaddafi were extremely low, to ensure no person would lack anything or sleep hungry.
14. High GDP per capita
Under Gaddafi the GDP per capita for Libya was at all-time high, at about $15,000.
15. No external debt
Libya had no external debt during Gaddafi’s era. The country also had reserves amounting to $150 billion.
16. High economy growth rate
Libya’s economy was growing at double digits. In 2010, just a year before the revolution and Gaddafi’s death, the economy had a 10% growth rate.
17. Unemployment fees
Graduates were given unemployment fee, form of grant, by the government for their use until they find a job.
18. Food security
During Gaddafi’s tenure, Libya was a food secure country with all citizens access to food and water.
19. Libya had state bank
Libya had its own state bank that provided loans to citizens at 0% interest rate.
20. The gold dinar
Before his death, Gaddafi was trying to introduce a single common African currency linked to gold. This move was greatly opposed by western nations as this could have made Africa less dependent on external debts and aids.