Libya is located in Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt in the east and Tunisia in the west. In the interior it is bordered by Sudan in the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south and Algeria to the west and southwest. Libya covers a total area of 1,759,540 km² and is the fourth in size among the countries of Africa and 17th in the world. The Mediterranean coast (nearly 1800 km long) and the Sahara Desert are the country's most prominent natural features. More than 90% of the country is desert or semi-desert. The terrain comprises mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus and depressions (lowest point -47 m). There are several highlands but no true mountain ranges except in the southern desert near the Chadian border, where the Tibesti Massif rises to over 2,200 metres.

The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contributes about 95% of export earnings, 25% of GDP, and 60% of public sector wages. Substantial revenues from the energy sector coupled with a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, but little of this income flows down to the lower sections of society where poverty is common.


Geologically Libya belongs entirely to the Saharan domain forming the northern section of the African Shield. Apart from a few Precambrian outcrops, comprising schist, gneiss and foliated granitoids, the country is mostly covered by Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic, dominantly marine, sediments with locally developed areas of rift-related Neogene volcanics in the central part of the country.