Private Sector investment, strengthened food, energy security priority in US-Guyana talks

…as US Govt to support banking, finance, tourism sectors

Financing and private sector investment have already been the focal points of discussion between Guyana and the United States of America, as President Irfaan Ali leads the delegation in Washington, DC.
The Head of State along with Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo; Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Hugh Todd; Guyana’s Ambassador to the United States, Samuel Hinds and Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud are currently in the US for a series of high-level meetings geared at strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.

Both sides of the delegation engaged on areas of interest

Ali and US Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Don Graves on Monday held fruitful discussions. Deputy Secretary Greaves committed support to the Government of Guyana in the areas of banking, finance, and tourism as well as US private sector investment into Guyana.
Consequently, President Ali has also committed to working closely with the Department of Commerce and other US agencies to facilitate US private sector investment in Guyana.
Speaking on his engagement, Ali shared, “We have been discussing many matters of mutual interests and areas which we can strengthen and expand our relationship. The goal of this week is to bring harmonisation between the plans and programmes of Guyana and the aspirations of the US, both at the Government and private sector level. We cannot have a partnership unless the two countries have a fulsome understanding of the developmental priorities, challenges and opportunities.”

President Dr Irfaan Ali with US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves

Discussions on Monday extended to climate change, food security, energy security, regional security among others.
Balanced development
In conversation during the Leaders of the Americas Series by Atlantic Council, the Guyanese Head of State said low-hanging fruits were identified during talks relating to trade and commerce. In building private sector relations, Ali noted that Government is creating balanced development.
“We were able to identify areas that we can immediately target to support the aspirations of Guyana whilst at the same time opening up opportunities for the US private sector…We have to ensure we grow the country in such a way that the private sector is growing, creating jobs while we create an enabling environment for that growth in the private sector. We are growing the skills-depth of the population so that they are prepared.”
The President said Guyana is expanding its environmental credentials on climate change, taking leadership in this aim. Government has also paid keen attention on food security, and this is evident from its stance in the regional Caricom agenda to reduce the food import bill by 25 per cent in 2025. He added that the US can be a key player in unlocking financing for mitigation measures.
He informed, “We cannot address climate change singularly. All of us must embrace this challenge and commit ourselves to targets that would mitigate the effects of climate change. The Caribbean region is one of the most affected in terms of climate disasters so any support that comes to the region is support well-received. We see the US as a strategic partner in helping the region to unlock concessional financing for adaptation and mitigation.”
At the invitation of the US Government, the delegation is to meet with other high-ranking US Government officials, including the Secretary of State and leaders of Congress and the Senate. President Ali will be featured on the CSIS Americas Programme, discussing “Strengthening the Guyana-US Bilateral Relationship”.
According to the CSIS website, this event will provide an opportunity to delve deeper into the US-Guyana partnership and will explore pathways to strengthening democratic practices, the challenges and opportunities for Guyanese oil wealth, and ways to bolster the economy to improve the socioeconomic outlook for the country. In addition, the discussion will touch upon Guyana’s role in the region, discuss the Guyana-Venezuela border dispute, and assess the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the opportunities for economic rebuilding and human capital development.
The United States and Guyana have a deep-rooted history of trade, public health initiatives, economic development, and collaboration to empower civil society, promote stability, and reinforce security.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated that Guyana’s economy is the fastest growing in the world. Its economy is forecast to grow this year at roughly 47 per cent with a projected GDP of $9.5 billion. Additionally, Guyana serves as a gateway to Caribbean trade development as it is home to the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat.
Only last month, President Ali attended the Summit of the Americas that was held in California, US, under the theme: “Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future”.
During his presentation at the Second Plenary session, he underscored the importance of equality, democracy, and energy security to the sustainability of countries in the Americas and the Caribbean, noting that the region has the potential to address these pressing issues.
The Guyanese Head of State told his colleagues from the western hemisphere that issues plaguing countries such as inequalities, threats to democracy, and energy insecurity among others cannot be divorced from the sustainability and prosperity of the region.