Gianfranco Damiano, President of the Italian-Libyan Chamber of Commerce, went on a 10-day visit to Benghazi. During the visit, Damiano met with the Italian Consul Carlo Batori, the Mayor of Benghazi Al Safar Emran Fadhlall Almed, the Deputy Minister of the Interior Faraj Ghaiam and other local authorities, as the Chamber of Commerce explained in a press release. 

Mr. Damiano with the Mayor of Benghazi, Libya
Mr. Damiano with the Mayor of Benghazi, Libya

The official meetings were followed by meetings with entrepreneurs, visits to some Italian companies active in the area and inspections in areas potentially relevant for the development of joint economic initiatives. This mission follows the previous one held in January 2019 and attended by 15 Italian companies. 

Cyrenaica presents various opportunities for Italian companies, mainly in the oil & gas, food, health, infrastructure, plant engineering, construction and training sectors, that all strategic areas for the socio-economic development of Libya.  

Besides, Italy recently opened a Consulate in Benghazi, headed by consul Carlo Batori, who is keen on helping Italian companies interested in investing in the area.   

The Italian consul in Benghazi, Carlo Batori
The Italian consul in Benghazi, Carlo Batori

The suspension of direct flights from Italy still represents a huge problem for Italian companies, accustomed in the past to reach Libya in less than 90 minutes and today forced to an intermediate stopover in Tunis, Istanbul or Cairo. Therefore, the Chamber appealed to Italy‚Äôs government, asking to review the ban of the Ministry of the Interior on direct flights. 

Among the opportunities that Benghazi offers, of great interest is the need to restore the architectural heritage of Old Benghazi, mainly built by Italians during the colonization of Libya. On this issue, the Italian Consulate will soon organize a workshop in Benghazi. This specific restoration project is expected to involve several Italian actors: universities, companies and professional associations.  

The Catholic Basilica of Benghazi
The Catholic Basilica of Benghazi

On the issue of education, the visit allowed for the creation of a new relationships between a well-known Italian university and a campus in Benghazi. The two institutions will launch joint programs in economics, tourism and English, with the aim of expanding this collaboration to engineering and architecture.  

At the beginning of the mission, Mr. Damiano visited the mausoleum dedicated to Omar Al Mukhtar, who led the resistance against the Italian occupation and was hanged by the Italian Army in 1931. 

Mr. Damiano also visited the Catholic Basilica of Benghazi, which is partially abandoned. The local community wants to rebuild it and use it as an interreligious cultural center.