Guyana’s per capita GDP now at US$9000 – VP Jagdeo
…says country will use economic boom to transform economy
Guyana’s per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has reached US$9000, a feat indicative of a growing economy, but was nevertheless a struggle to accomplish, according to Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Jagdeo commented on the per capita GDP while participating in a policy dialogue as part of the 2022 Bloomberg NEF New York Summit. Questions were raised about whether Guyana’s pursuit of oil and gas exploration conflicts with the country’s own pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 70 per cent made during COP26.
“My own position is that globally, at this point in time – and this has been pointed out by everyone – the pace of introduction of renewables can’t outstrip the growth in demand. And so, for the conceivable future, once there’s a demand for fossil fuel, we want to be part of that energy mix,” Jagdeo explained.
“We want to be part of that supply. And if anyone should be part of that supply, it should be countries in Africa, small countries like Guyana and Suriname. Because our per capita GDP is now US$9000. With a struggle, we got it there. In the United States, it’s over US$70,000. We more need these resources than anyone else, to transform our economy,” Jagdeo explained.
While the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government had set a target of 100 per cent renewable energy for Guyana by 2025, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government has subsequently revised this target to a more realistic one of 70 per cent reduction of carbon emissions by 2030.
“We don’t believe we’re betraying a net zero goal if we develop these resources. So, coming back to the point about Guyana, our forests is a huge carbon sink. The target in 2016 was for energy,” Jagdeo said. “Now, the Government at that time came into office and announced a 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2025. No country in the world has achieved that. It was almost a fairytale target. And the fact is they never had a single project in place to achieve that.”
Per capita GDP is a metric used in finance to measure the economic output per person. It is calculated by dividing the GDP of the country in question by its total population.
The World Bank had recently estimated Guyana’s 2023 projected economic growth rate at over 34 per cent, only months after it released one of its publications that contained the economic projections of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries.
According to their semi-annual report for the LAC, called ‘Consolidating the recovery; seizing green growth opportunities’, which was released this month, the World Bank projects that Guyana would register a GDP growth rate of 34.3 per cent in 2023.
This rate of growth is actually the most in the LAC region, and the only one in double figures. The second highest growth rate projected for next year is St. Vincent and the Grenadines, at 7.3 per cent.
When it comes to the forecast for 2022, the World Bank in its report projects a growth rate of 47.9 per cent for Guyana. In this case, only Barbados, with a projected growth rate of 11.2 per cent for 2022, crosses over into double figures.
In the World Bank’s “Global Economic Prospects” report from January 2022, it was projected that Guyana would register growth of some 25 per cent for 2023. This was an improvement on the previously predicted 23 per cent.
The World Bank also projected economic growth of 49.7 per cent in 2022. This economic growth projection is the only one within the LAC to cross into double figures, once again highlighting the importance of oil exploration to the economy.
The oil rich Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). Exxon, through subsidiary Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), is the operator, and holds 45 per cent interest in the Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd holds 30 per cent interest, and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds the remaining 25 per cent interest.
So far, ExxonMobil’s ongoing offshore exploration in Guyana has discovered a recoverable resource of more than 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels, after spending more than US$600 million in direct revenue that went to the Guyana Government from its operations offshore Guyana. The company anticipates up to 10 projects on the Stabroek Block to develop this resource. (G3)