The multibillion dollar construction frenzy taking place is the latest and most visable sign of Libya's drive for growth. It's a push that largely ignored the global financial meltdown that has left other oil rich Arab nations stumbling over the last couple of years, and reflects how Libya is tapping its oil wealth to reshape a country isolated for years by sanctions and international disdain.
The International Monetary Fund forecasts that Libya's economy will grow by 5.4% this year. While the U.N. said foreign direct investment into the country quadrupled from $1 billion in 2005 to $4.1 billion in 2008.
Gadhafi's decision to renounce terrorism, hand over the two suspects wanted for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, and pay compensation to the families of the 270 people killed in the attack paved the way for Libya's re-entry into the international community. The U.S. restored relations and reopened its embassy, American and European oil firms have flocked to the country, home to Africa's largest proven oil reserves.