Guyana is a sleeping giant for investment — President Ali tells potential investors

President Dr Irfaan Ali

With Guyana slated to emerge as one of the most diversified economies in the Region, President Dr Irfaan Ali is encouraging potential investors to look outside the oil and gas industry and at the plethora of investment opportunities that are available here.
“I want to…say to all potential investors that, ‘You need to come, you need to explore, and you need to look holistically at the varied opportunities in Guyana. Whether it is large-scale agriculture production, whether it is mining, whether it is forestry, whether it is in the healthcare system, the education system; you need to understand the varied potential Guyana offers for different types of investors. It is not only about oil and gas; oil and gas has really brought attention to Guyana, a sleeping giant in investment opportunities’,” he posited.
The Head of State made this remark at the opening of the Guyana Basin Summit 2021 (GBS) – an event held virtually on Wednesday morning aimed at creating investment and development opportunities in the Guyana-Suriname Basin, and bringing together oil and gas leaders and the global energy community during the virtual edition (17-19 March), before a physical conference is held in Georgetown in October.
Guyana is poised to become the most exciting investment destination in the Western Hemisphere, and according to President Ali, his Government’s development plans do not revolve exclusively around the oil and gas, but all sectors of the economy.
“[The oil and gas sector] will complement the tradition sectors, which will be modernised and which will maintain their roles as economic mainstays,” he posited.
In the same breath, however, the Head of State outlined that the oil and gas sector will be instrumental in Guyana’s national development framework. He said the development of the country’s abundant natural resources is key to unlocking this planned economic prosperity.
“In this context, the Guyana Basin is an important national resource. In terms of endowment, we have estimated that total Basin potential is around twice our proven reserves. Economically, this is important and further solidifies our position as a lucrative emerging petroleum state,” the President noted.
He added that his Government intends to maximise the many business opportunities that exist along the value chain of the country’s fledgling petroleum sector, while expanding drilling, exploration and production activities.
President Ali further emphasised that while his Government is clear on the fundamental principles which will guide the development of Guyana’s natural resources sector, it is important for prospective and potential investors to have similar clarity.
Moreover, the Head of State acknowledged that the country’s resources are useless if they remain unexploited. Therefore, he noted that foreign and local capital is necessary to convert these natural resources into wealth and to generate jobs.
“As such, Guyana welcomes private investment… Investment remains pivotal to shared prosperity. We simply lack the scale of financial, technological and human resources needed for our ambitious economic development plans. We need investment to drive our development,” Ali said.
President Ali pointed out that it is necessary for the local Private Sector to become more involved in the planned economic transformation, and to grow and develop through synergies and partnerships with foreign businesses. To enable this, he pointed to the importance of the draft local content policy and law, which is aimed at spurring a stronger and more robust local business environment.

Model of development
Meanwhile, the Guyanese leader also reassured that his Government remains committed to ensuring a model of development which provides benefits for present and future generations, and “will not sacrifice long-term benefits for short-term gains”.
“We are uncompromising when it comes to respecting our people, especially our workers. We insist that the rights of our workers be respected, and that investors comply with our labour laws,” he declared.
He said it is Government’s intention to work with local and international investors in every dimension of this economy, so as to ensure thriving economic sectors over the next five years and beyond.
The President pointed to the strides made by his administration, since assuming office in the latter half of 2020, to rekindle investor and consumer confidence.
“This year, we will continue to fashion a stronger, more resilient and investor-friendly economy…Our outlook for this year and beyond is extremely promising,” Ali asserted.
He said that while Guyanese can anticipate continuous and progressive improvements in their living standards, so, too, will investors enjoy progressively greater opportunities and rewards.
In regard to their role in national development, President Ali said his Government’s plans stretch from large-scale agricultural investments and related projects to mega infrastructure, which includes bridges, a road to Brazil, a deep-water harbour, housing communities and urban centres, port facilities, digital technology, industrial parks, and energy development.
“As a matter of fact, we have commenced discussions with Suriname, our neighbour, in the development of the Energy Corridor. Brazil and French Guiana too will play important roles in that development, where we’re going to develop one of the most competitive energy corridors along the Guyana Shield,” the Head of State disclosed.
President Ali added that the major catalyst for industrialisation will be the planned gas-to-shore energy project. He further noted that this will afford the economy the opportunity to have an enhanced manufacturing sector, and allow Guyana to become an industrial powerhouse, a model energy state, the breadbasket of the region, the Silicon Valley of the Caribbean, and a sustainable tourism paradise.
GBS 2021 is a uniquely global summit that will provide a platform for the industry to forge partnerships, showcase innovation, and drive commerce forward.
Guyana’s representatives at the summit also included Senior Minister with Responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh; Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat, Public Works Ministers Juan Edghill and Deodat Indar, Governor of the Bank of Guyana Dr Gobind Ganga, CEO of Go-Invest Dr Peter Ramsaroop, and Guyana Energy Agency CEO Dr Mahender Sharma. (G8)