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The American Chamber of Commerce in Libya (AmCham) visited Benghazi on March 1 to participate in meetings with Mayor Alsaqer Emran Abojwary as well as a delegation from the Benghazi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI). AmCham was received in the Mayor’s office where they discussed specific initiatives that could be undertaken in order to bring U.S. companies to Benghazi.

AmCham President, Debbie Hirst, said: “We were very impressed with our visit to Benghazi. We believe there are interesting opportunities for U.S. companies to engage in Benghazi. There are multiple sources of funding available, and the authorities are taking special care to support the payment process, which is an area of particular concern to our members.

“In general we were pleased with what we saw and heard, and we are committed to supporting the rebuilding of Benghazi. We visited a recently opened French-based hypermarket, and it was like we were in France. Really very impressive.”

The visit to Benghazi also included a meeting at the BCCI headquarters. BCCI Chairman Muneim Elsaeiti explained the history of the BCCI, and highlighted how the rebuilding of Benghazi has been spearheaded by BCCI members. He took great pride in demonstrating the modern techniques that the BCCI has implemented to track and monitor their members, which is designed to give confidence to any company that enters into a business relationship with a BCCI member.

In addition, BCCI has set up an Arbitration Council which should allow for quick resolution of any business-related disputes involving members. Finally, he pointed out that the majority of the BCCI staff is female, which he said was on purpose, owing to what he perceives as the high level of professionalism on the part of women in the workforce.

Ahmed Ghazali, Vice President of AmCham Libya said: “AmCham will be making efforts to support U.S. company engagement in Benghazi. The Mayor and BCCI are serious about development in Benghazi, and we think the city would benefit from some of the world-class know-how that American companies bring.”