Finance Minister tells US EXIM Bank of financing opportunities in Guyana
…discussions also held with World Bank
Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, on Wednesday participated in a series of high-level meetings in the United States, including with the Head of that country’s Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, during which the discussion centred on a wide range of opportunities in Guyana that the financial institution can support.
In addition to the President and Chair of EXIM Bank of the United States, Reta Jo Lewis, several Vice Presidents and senior officials of the Bank in Washington, DC also attended the meeting.
It was noted that with Guyana now being an oil producer and exporter, the country has access to new opportunities and potential resources that can accelerate its transformation. Moreover, the country has also seen significant interest from international investors in oil and gas as well as in other productive sectors.
According to the Finance Ministry, Dr Singh expressed his appreciation to the Bank for the interest shown, and reiterated that Guyana values its relationship with the United States of America, and more particularly with institutions like the EXIM Bank.
“The officials discussed opportunities with regards to financing for both public and Private Sector projects, with particular interest in the infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, climate services, digitization and ICT, as well as the non-oil extractive sectors,” a missive from the Ministry has detailed.
Both teams have expressed a willingness to conduct further meetings with the aim of fostering closer collaboration between the EXIM Bank and the Guyana Government, as well as the Private Sector organisations and companies of both countries.
The United States is a key development partner of Guyana’s, demonstrated through its strong economic ties in the area of trade and official development assistance, and linked through a large Guyanese diaspora in the US.
Wednesday’s meeting provided another opportunity to promote economic ties as Guyana continues to build and strengthen cooperation with the US.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States is the official export credit agency of the United States federal Government. Operating as a wholly owned federal Government corporation, the Bank “assists in financing and facilitating U.S. exports of goods and services”.
Minister Singh is currently attending a series of meetings in Washington on the occasion of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Spring and Annual Meetings, and is accompanied by Deputy Chief of Mission of Guyana’s Embassy in Washington DC, Zulfikar Ally.
The Spring Meetings’ events are being held from April 18 to 24, 2022.
World Bank meeting
In fact, Dr Singh on Tuesday also held discussions with the Managing Director of the World Bank, Axel van Trotsenburg. The Finance Minister was joined by Governors of the Caribbean Region for the meeting, which was held under the theme “Road to Recovery: Tools for Building Back Better in the Caribbean”.
The session focused on priorities of the Caribbean, and how the World Bank can support economic recovery and resilience.
According to another missive from the Finance Ministry, “The meeting allowed Caribbean Governors to hear directly from the Management of the World Bank on their approach to regional issues, in particular issues of recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerability to economic and climate shocks, as well as strengthening debt sustainability.”
The World Bank’s Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Semi-Annual Report for 2022 reported the average growth for constituency countries – excluding St Kitts & Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda – as six per cent in 2021. When this figure was adjusted to remove Guyana’s 19.9 per cent growth, the average growth for constituency countries was estimated at 4.3 per cent.
Increased vaccination programmes and the reopening of economies were identified as the reason for this rebound in economic activity seen in these countries.
In March of this year, the Ministry of Finance met with a high-level World Bank team led by Country Director for the Caribbean, Lilia Burunciuc, and new Resident Representative of the Bank, Dilletta Doretti. That meeting served as an opportunity for dialogue on the Guyana Government’s economic objectives and priorities, and potential opportunities for World Bank support through its assistance and lending programmes. Key priorities that were discussed included Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Agenda, human capital development, and opportunities for partnership between the Government and the financial institution in other areas in line with its expanding and evolving capacity.
The Bank has been supporting several projects over the years through a number of loans and grants, including a US$20 million loan for the Guyana Petroleum Governance and Management Project to support the enhancement of legal and institutional frameworks and the strengthening of the capacity of key institutions to manage the oil and gas sector in Guyana.
Additionally, the Bank loaned US$6 million to Guyana under the Guyana Payments System Project to improve Guyana’s national payments system, while another US$13.3 million was loaned for the Guyana Education Sector Improvement Project to improve student learning outcomes through reform of curriculum and teaching practices, US$37.9M under the Flood Risk Management Project and US$12.5 million towards the COVID-19 Emergency Response Project.
Further, the Bank also provided a US$7 million grant to this country towards the Guyana Education Sector Programme Project, for the improvement and learning conditions at the nursery level in select areas, the increased use of technology-assisted learning at the primary level in select areas, and to improve functionality of the education management information system nationally.
The Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group bring together Central Bankers, Ministers of Finance and Development, Private Sector executives, representatives from civil society organisations, and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness. (G8)