Fortune 500 firms interested in investing in Guyana
…“our long-awaited transformation” on verge of unfolding – Finance Minister
Satellite imagery, security services, as well as housing and urban development are just some areas that major US companies have expressed an interest in investing in Guyana.
This announcement was made by US Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch, who noted that Fortune 500 companies – just last week – inquired about investment opportunities here.
“I get calls from US companies regularly. Just last week, I met with the Business Council for International Understanding, a US-based organisation founded under President Eisenhower, whose members include Fortune 500 companies interested in what Guyana has to offer.
“The company representatives inquired about a broad range of investment opportunities including investment in the oil and gas sector, housing and urban development, environmental resiliency, satellite imagery and security services, just to name a few,” Ambassador Lynch revealed during the opening ceremony of the Annual General Meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Guyana.
The term “Fortune 500” refers to a list of 500 of the largest companies in the United States compiled by Forbes magazine every year, ranked by their annual revenues for their respective fiscal years. To be a Fortune 500 company is widely considered to be a mark of prestige.
The current top ten Fortune 500 companies are Walmart, Amazon, ExxonMobil, Apple, CVS Health, Berkshire Hathaway, UnitedHealth Group, McKesson, AT&T, and AmerisourceBergen.
According to Ambassador Lynch, the US wants to be Guyana’s “top trading partner and partner of choice”.
“From infrastructure to energy, from healthcare to agriculture, the future of US investment here is just beginning,” she expressed.
“Over the next year, we look forward to partnering with AmCham on webinars in all of these areas. We look forward to US companies competing fairly and transparently in tender processes, as we want to remain Guyana’s top trading partner and partner of choice,” she added.
In this regard, the US Ambassador called on AmCham to continue to play its part in fostering business relations between the two countries.
“Your expertise in the local market and know-how are critical elements for any investor who wants to work with Guyana. Your advocacy for fair and transparent procurement processes, your adherence to environmental laws and fair hiring practices, your mentoring of young entrepreneurs, this all matters. And it all contributes to a bright and prosperous Guyana,” she noted.
In further underlining the magnitude of interest by the US in Guyana, the American diplomat recalled the September 2020 visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as the visit by the delegation from the Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
She also recalled that AmCham, two weeks after the DFC visit, hosted a follow-up webinar for over 60 businesses with the DFC.
“This was to ensure the Private Sector knows how the DFC provides project financing through public-private partnerships and other mechanisms. We at the Embassy are happy to connect the Private Sector with the DFC for these financing opportunities,” Ambassador Lynch posited.
In further expanding on the topic of US-Guyana business relations, the envoy explained that the US Embassy is a US Commercial Service partner post with the US Department of Commerce, which means that they can connect investors with Guyanese businesses.
“We also help facilitate requests for Guyanese businesses seeking to invest in the United States. Interested in opening a US franchise here? We are your first stop. Need assistance importing US products and materials? We are here for you,” she explained.
Furthermore, she noted that this year, the US will be opening an “American Corner” at the National Library, which, she said, has already expressed interest in working with AmCham on financial literacy issues for young people.
Meanwhile, senior Minister with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh acknowledged that there has been a strong and special bond between the US and Guyana which has manifested through traditional economic relations, such as official development assistance through bilateral and multilateral channels, trade, as well as financial flows such as migrant remittances from the large Guyanese diaspora in the US.
Against this backdrop, Dr Singh noted that “Guyana’s new status as an oil producer and exporter has generated unprecedented interest by American companies in our country, not just in the oil and gas sector but also across the entire spectrum of productive activity.”
“This is not surprising given the inevitable positive externalities that oil and gas production can bring to the rest of the economy,” he added.
Dr Singh explained that, beyond the COVID pandemic, the prospects for Guyana are “historically bright and the long-awaited transformation is on the verge of unfolding.”
He explained that “becoming an oil producer presents us with an opportunity, and with the means, to improve the well-being of the Guyanese people to realise the longstanding aspirations of our country.”
Dr Singh outlined that the Government’s overall aim is, in the shortest possible time, build a modern Guyana, with world-class infrastructure that unlocks the vast potential of the country’s economy.
“In addition to ensuring all the required supportive infrastructure, our plan includes ensuring availability of a highly-skilled workforce, and State institutions that encourage and facilitate, rather than hinder and frustrate, the operations of the Private Sector. In this regard, reducing bureaucracy and removing bottlenecks to doing business will be an important pillar of our institutional reforms,” he stated.
The Finance Minister said he will soon be engaging with AmCham to discuss its membership’s contribution to the country’s economic transformation as well as to discuss ways in which the organisation can work with the Government to ensure that their shared vision for Guyana is realised.