US VP Kamala Harris’ reps in Guyana to advance discussions on priority areas

– climate change, energy & food security on agenda

A team from the office of the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, is in Guyana for a short visit to advance discussions on a number of areas including climate change as well as food and energy security.
In a statement on Sunday, the US Embassy in Georgetown said the visiting delegation will comprise of VP Harris’s Special Advisor for the Western Hemisphere, Joseph Salazar, and Deputy Director for the Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA), Office of Caribbean Affairs, Michael Taylor.
They arrived in Guyana on Sunday and will be here until Tuesday. During their visit, the delegation will meet with Government officials, business leaders, and non-governmental organisations leading on issues of governance, security, and prosperity.

President Dr Irfaan Ali with US Vice President Kamala Harris in September 2022

“Discussions will include topics of mutual interest including food security, energy security, and the US-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030 (PACC 2030),” the US Embassy stated.
In June 2022, US Vice President Harris launched PACC 2030 and since then the United States has been working with Caribbean nations to develop wide-ranging, long-term energy security and climate resilience solutions.
Since the Summit of the Americas, Vice President Harris has met with six Caribbean Heads of State, including President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, building on the United States partnership with Caribbean governments in defence of our shared values, and to improve Caribbean resilience in all aspects – economic, security, and democracy.
During a follow-up meeting in September 2022, President Ali and several Caricom leaders met VP Harris in Washington to further discuss the commitments they made at the Summit of the Americas last June to partner with the Region to promote energy security, access to finance, and food security in the Caribbean – three areas that the leaders identified as their top priorities.
President Ali is the lead on agriculture and food security in the Caricom quasi-Cabinet. He is also co-chairing the US-Caricom-Dominican Republic Sub-Committee on Food Security and Agriculture – one of three committees established during the 2022 Summit.
Consequently, the Guyanese Leader used the opportunity last September to lobby the United States Government for some US$25 million in assistance to further push the food security and agriculture agenda in the Caribbean, especially among specific groups such as women and youths.
“I put forward a proposal to have a further US$25 million made available through grants and low-cost loans for women and youth in agriculture, especially for projects dealing with sustainability, technology, and research like hydroponics. These are projects that will ensure resilience in the food production system, and encourage young people and women to participate,” Ali had stated.
This request is in addition to US$28 million that the United States Government already injected for short-term activities aimed at supporting an increase in food production and further improving agriculture in a Region. This assistance is one of the pledges made by the US under the new “Zero Hunger Caribbean Plan” to address the Region’s urgent food security needs. Other interventions include mobilization of experts to explore biofertilizer production as well as developing operational logistics and supply chain model to streamline intraregional trade, among others.
Moreover, the September meeting also saw an agreement to tackle intraregional trade barriers and those that exist with the US. The leaders also discussed at length, research and development extension services and investment opportunities in agriculture and food production systems within Caricom itself.
With regards to energy security, talks surrounded an integrated energy plan in which the Caricom leaders proposed a joint approach to ensure regional sustainability in the energy mix and energy framework that includes natural gas, fossil fuel, and renewables.
Meanwhile, on the access to finance end, the issue of dealing with the debt crisis, post-COVID recovery, and financing for mitigation were among the issues that the regional leaders and US Vice President had substantial discussions on.
The Biden-Harris Administration has committed to continue work to expand access to US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) financing for private sector-led projects in the Caribbean.
In addition to working with a number of financial institutions such as the World Bank Group (WBG) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as well as the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the US Government said it will also elevate engagement with Caribbean nations to improve access to correspondent banking, including by convening a correspondent banking working group in Fall 2022 (September to December), re-establishing the US-Caribbean Public-Private Bank Dialogue in late 2022/early 2023, and helping Caribbean nations establish a single bank to consolidate cross-border flows across the Region. (G8)