Guyana, Brazil to advance infrastructural connectivity, private sector integration

…to bolster greater defence mechanisms

Recognising a timely opportunity to strengthen economic integration, the Governments of Guyana and Brazil will be advancing cooperation in infrastructural connectivity, private sector integration and greater defence mechanisms.
President Irfaan Ali on Thursday facilitated bilateral discussions with his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at the Arthur Chung Conference Center.
Thereafter, both presidents reaffirmed their mutual commitment to the full development of a partnership programme between Guyana and Brazil, aimed at further action and practical measures to deepen the bilateral cooperation.
In addressing local and international media following this engagement, Ali shared that the two sides discussed areas where the economies can be integrated, and how the private sector can spark investments.

Presidents Irfaan Ali and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at a joint press conference on Thursday following bilateral talks

“For Guyana and Brazil, there is an opportunity that is now that can highly integrate our economies and create enormous opportunities for the people of our two countries. We discussed the connectivity of infrastructure not only through roads, ports and air transport but we discussed the connectivity of our people, the involvement of our private sector and how we can get our private sectors more integrated,” the head of state disclosed.
The two sides will work towards organising a mission from Guyana to Brazil in the second quarter of 2024, comprising officials of the government and the business sector, with the aim of expanding trade and investment between the two countries.
Speaking on infrastructural linkages between both countries, President Ali informed that both countries will be working on the financial mechanism for projects that will further connect Guyana and Brazil.
“We’re going to put together a technical working group that would commence working immediately to develop a mechanism through which we can have the financing and to mobilize financing for the deployment of investment on various projects to link our two countries,” he discussed.
One of the main infrastructural linkages to Brazil will be the Linden to Mabura Hill road, which will eventually reach all the way to Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo). The US$190 million contract for the road was signed in May 2022 with Brazilian company Construtora Queiroz Galvao SA for the construction of the 121-kilometre road.
Meanwhile, deepened collaboration on defence and security will materialise from these talks. A working mechanism has been established in taking these issues forward. Consequently, Ali also lauded President Lula’s commitment and consistent stance against issues facing the region, as well as fostering regional integration.
He commended, “His focus on people led development is focused on building a resilient, strong, sustainable region, one in which the people of this region will all fulfil our potential, in which we can build a mechanism through which prosperity can come to every citizen of this region is remarkable.”
Moving Forward
President Lula da Silva arrived in Guyana to address regional leaders at the 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) this week.
As he delivered remarks, the Brazilian Leader shared that this is the first step in moving forward a policy which commenced in 2010, but was later paralysed not just with Guyana but the rest of the world through changing leadership in his country.
Lula expressed his satisfaction with the engagement as he told media operatives, “There is a vast field for the Brazilian private sector to make their investments in Guyana. On the other, there is a lot of interest in Guyana for the integration process that will allow Guyana to have access to Brazilian agricultural goods, especially through its closest neighbour, which is the Roraima state of Brazil.”
A joint communique after Thursday’s dialogue indicated that the Presidents emphasized the need for greater impetus in the implementation of commitments by both sides this agenda, stressing the importance of effective monitoring and evaluation of agreed initiatives.
Among other actions taken were to revive the established Ministerial Working Groups to further bilateral engagements between the two countries; full implementation of the Guyana- Brazil International Road Transport Agreement (IRTA); expanding the provisions of the Partial Scope Agreement; promoting South American cooperation initiatives under the leadership of different countries in the region; and actions to enable full operationalization of the Agreement on Cooperation and Facilitation of Investment.
There has also been pledges for greater collaboration in agriculture and food security, through sharing information and best practices, enhanced collaboration between their respective research institutions, and promoting investment.
Additionally, talks also included advancing the process of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in November 2020 for the Technical Feasibility Studies for the installation of fibreoptic link between Guyana and Brazil.
There will be strengthened bilateral dialogue and collaboration on frontier, consular and migration issues. The framework of engagement between Brazil and the Caribbean Community that seeks to contribute to enhancing food security in the region will also be explored.
President Lula da Silva expressed, “We should make it happen, the necessary integration, to bring development to our region. That is why I would like to communicate to you that I leave this country very pleased.”
On the margins of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM meeting, the leadership of Guyana and Brazil also met with Surinamese President, Chandrikapersad Santokhi during a trilateral working meeting on Wednesday.
They agreed to deepen discussions on cooperation in the oil and gas sector, including exploration and production, regulation and contingency plans and emergency response, while also expressing interest in the development of sustainable projects of hydroelectric generation and integration of electrical networks, in order to strengthen the energy security and efficiency of regional systems.
The three countries also reaffirmed their common interest in strengthening cooperation in the fight against transnational crime, through joint police operations, exchange of intelligence information, capacity developing activities and negotiation of cooperation projects for the use of remote sensing images as a tool to combat transnational organized crime. (Rupa Seenaraine)