At the time of Muammar Gaddafi’s assassination on 20 October 2011, Libya had a national reserve totaling $150 billion and zero debt.
In 2014, three years after his death, records revealed that the national debt of Libya amounted to around $46.37 billion and the standard of living in the country had dropped drastically. Many critics have continued to argue that Gaddafi was targeted by the West because of his vision for a debt-free Africa.
While reacting to the role of the West in the assassination of Gaddafi, Dr James Thring, the founder of Ministry of Peace – an initiative to unite the peace movement and counter war lobbies, injustice and suffering said that “it’s one of those things that you have to plan almost in secret because as soon as you say you’re going to change over from the dollar to something else, you’re going to be targeted.” He added that while Gaddafi might not have been the most democratic leader in the world, Libyan citizens arguably had the best way of life during his reign
History will forever remember Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as a controversial leader, but one thing no one can take away from the revered ex-Libyan ruler is that he was bent on protecting Africa from western influences at all cost. He believed that through loans and foreign aid, the West penetrated African economies to enrich themselves at the expense of the continent.
He was branded a “mad dog” by Ronald Reagan. His outlandish antics, flamboyant dress and bombastic pronouncements of the self-styled “Brother Leader” made him a figure of ridicule at times. But, every western leader throughout his 40-year reign labeled him an enemy that must be deposed at all cost; the question remains, why?
He hardly travelled abroad, and when he did, he was accompanied by a blonde Ukrainian nurse and insisted on staying in his Bedouin tent, protected by his team of glamorous, gun-toting female bodyguards.
At his first appearance at the UN General Assembly, Gaddafi tore up a copy of the UN charter, likened the Security Council to al-Qaeda, and demanded $7.7 trillion in compensation to Africa from its former colonial rulers.
Gaddafi urged other African leaders to follow the footsteps of Libya in rejecting foreign loans and aid; he encouraged bigger African nations to offer loans and assistance to poorer nations.
According to Reuters in a February 9, 2011 report, Libya provided loans to about 40 countries worth a total of $2.197 billion. As of the end of 2009, Libya had been paid back $1.302 billion, leaving an outstanding balance, including interest, of $3.231 billion.
Unlike the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), Libya was willing to cancel the outstanding balance of Sudan’s $1.287 billion debt due to the poor state of Sudan’s economy.
“We are seeking to have all of Sudan’s loans forgiven because we believe that both governments, the Government of Sudan and the would-be Government of South Sudan, would not be in a position to repay these loans soon,” Marial Awour, the then-junior minister of finance in Libya had told Reuters.
To discourage other African countries from going to the World Bank or IMF for loans, Gaddafi approved loans for many other African countries too. Ethiopia owed $249 million and Mozambique still owes $211 million at the time of Gaddafi’s death. It was believed that the actions of Gaddafi in cutting dependency from the West were not welcomed by western authorities. If they were okay with Gaddafi’s decision to prevent Libya from western influence, they were certainly not okay with his decision to offer loans to other countries in a bid to prevent them from approaching the World Bank and IMF.
Recently, Wikileaks released unclassified U.S. Department of State documents including email correspondence between Secretary of State under President Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Sidney Blumenthal – an aide to former American President, Bill Clinton.
The correspondence revealed that the United States was greatly worried by the wealth of Gaddafi’s government in Libya and how the African ruler was aspiring to break African’s dependency on the U.S. dollar with the gold-Dinar. What was perhaps most disturbing was the fact that Gaddafi was planning to peg Africa’s currency to gold.
This further goes to prove that Gaddafi was not killed for humanitarian purposes, but the crude oil and gold in Libya. His ideas of an African gold-backed currency were his major undoing.
Sidney Blumenthal, in his email to Hillary Clinton, said:
“Gaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold and a similar amount in silver. During late March 2011 these stocks were moved to SABHA (south-west in the direction of the Libyan border with Niger and Chad); taken from the vaults of the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli.”
He went on to say the gold and silver was valued at $7 billion and was one of the reasons Nicolas Sarkozy embarked on a French attack on Libya.
It is no news that before the fall of Tripoli, Gaddafi was trying to create a single African currency linked to gold; this move by Gaddafi would have broken the African economic dependence on the West.
Sadly, Gaddafi’s dream for a debt-free Africa never saw the light of day. On 20 October 2011, the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) aided Libyan rebels in the capture and assassination of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown, Sirte.
A U.S. drone operated remotely from Las Vegas alerted NATO that Gaddafi was among a group fleeing in an 80-car convoy. French fighter jets responded with an airstrike on the convoy, wounding Gaddafi.
The intelligence office, with the help of the drone, would later alert the rebels that Gaddafi was hiding in a drainage pipe. He was located and murdered on live camera.