Guyana centre stage in energy, food security, climate change global conversations

Guyana’s First Lady Mrs. Arya Ali was last week presented with an award by the Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up (DUSUSU) Foundation for the role she is playing in making a difference in the areas of gender equality, women’s empowerment, and improving the lives of people of the country. The award was presented to the First Lady at State House by the co-founder of the DUSUSU Foundation, Zuriel Oduwole, a 20-year-old filmmaker and education advocate.
The Foundation is best known for its work on the advocacy for the education of girls in Africa. Other winners have been First Ladies from Africa, including the First Ladies of Tanzania (2014), Kenya (2015), Namibia (2016), Senegal (2017), Mozambique (2018), Cabo Verde (2019), Sierra Leone (2020), Namibia (2021). Even while our First Lady was being awarded, the largest delegation from the US Congress visited Guyana. Such visits have become commonplace for Guyana, a recognition that we are highly regarded today around the world.
Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo declared, during a meeting in Texas last week, that in terms of carbon emissions, Guyana is already where the world endeavours to be by 2050. Guyana’s forest is today a carbon sink, removing a significant amount of the carbon dioxide the world releases into the atmosphere, presently absorbing more than 150 million tons of global CO2 emission. Even with producing more than 350 barrels of oil a day, Guyana remains a significant carbon sink. It is why Hess Corporation has bought US$750M worth of carbon credits from Guyana, and this represents only a fraction of the carbon credits we own. For those who moan about Guyana producing more than one million barrels of oil a day by 2027, Guyana will remain a net carbon sink in 2050. Guyana is ensuring we can use our natural resources to bring prosperity to our people, while simultaneously helping the world cope with global warming and climate change.
President Irfaan Ali, at a ceremony in which the Balwant Singh Hospital commissioned its state-of-the-art histopathology lab and the Region’s first 128-slice “go-platform” CT scanner, spoke of the presence of Guyana in three of the most urgent global conversations. The President confidently declared that, in any global conversation today and for the foreseeable future on energy, food security, and climate change, there could not be a sensible conversation without Guyana being featured. This was not a President boasting; this was a President boldly being factual. In just a short period from the first indication, in 2014/2015, that there might be a commercial amount of oil for exploration in Guyana, to today, with Guyana producing more than 350,000 barrels per day and projecting to produce more than one million barrels per day by 2027, Guyana is today the most exciting player in the energy industry. At the same time, Guyana has strengthened its agriculture sector to be a player in the regional and global food security thrust. Additionally, since 2010, Guyana’s bold Low Carbon Development Strategy has been an important conversation item in the global dialogue on climate change.
Once a highly indebted poor country (HIPC) in the 1990s, with one of the worst poverty rates in the world, with no free and fair elections throughout its first twenty-six years of independence, the “basket-case” of Caricom, Guyana today is featured in global conversations on the three most important and existential challenges facing the world. Already, Guyana has confirmed deposits of over eleven billion barrels. But more oil discoveries are expected, and Guyana’s oil reserves could surpass fifteen billion barrels.
While EXXON has been discovering more oil deposits in its concession, Guyana is ready to offer more concessions in an upcoming auction of oil blocks.
But Guyana’s gas reserves might well prove to be equal to, or greater than, its oil revenues in the coming years. Guyana commands the global energy conversation because, by 2025, Guyana could be a significant player in the export of natural gas. By 2025, Guyana would be producing energy from the gas-to-shore gas lines. Gas-generated energy means that Guyana would reduce its dependency on fossil fuels by more than 70% by 2030, and cut the cost of electricity for households and businesses by more than 50% by 2025.
This is the beginning of a menu of the non-fossil fuel-generated energy mix that not only would reduce cost and improve efficiency and reliability, but also reduce our carbon footprint, with reduced emission of carbon. Adding solar, wind and hydro in the electricity mix, as planned by 2030, makes Guyana a model country in the global pursuit of non-fossil fuel-generated energy.
President Irfaan Ali’s aggressive pursuit of food security for the region through his 25 X 25 Initiative has placed Guyana as the leader of a food security revolution in Caricom. This is not just to ensure food security in Caricom, but it is a driver for economic growth. Already, Guyana is producing more than 1200 acres of soya per crop. Very soon, Guyana will be a net exporter of soya to other Caricom countries. With support from India, Guyana could become an exporter of millet to Caricom countries.
The world has taken note, and President Ali has emerged as a global food security guru and leader.
In spite of the local naysayers, our country is rapidly changing our infrastructure, our economy, and the lives of our people. The world is amazed, and people want to be here, want to be part of our story. We have become a poster child for progressive, transformative development.