There is an energy around Guyana

A senior level team from Caribbean Export was in Guyana from 4- 9 March, 2024 to meet with the host Government and related agencies to plan for the Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF 2024) scheduled for July 10-12, 2024 at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

Caribbean Export, in partnership with the European Union and the CARICOM Secretariat will host the 3rd edition of this landmark initiative under the patronage of His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. President Ali, no stranger to the Agency having been the distinguished Keynote speaker at the 2022 Caribbean Investment Forum in Dubai UAE, positions Guyana again, as well as the rest of the Caribbean in this initiative to transform the region.

Guyana has consolidated its position as the world’s fastest growing economy in 2024 driven by the oil boom, registering 62% national output in 2022, and 27.2% and 34.2% expansion in 2023 and 2024 respectively1 . Moreover, the country’s economic landscape has shifted with the attendant support services for the petroleum and gas sector increasing from 0.2% of GDP in 2015 to 57.3% in 2022, displacing the agricultural sector as the country’s economic mainstay.

Despite this fortune, the country remains committed to its place as the breadbasket for the Caribbean and its food security pledge to increase agricultural production in foods such as rice, soy and other produce. Investments in modernising the agriculture industry are key, including smart and sustainable agriculture and innovations to its mega-farms to leverage Guyana’s landmass. As a colleague from Go-Invest, the national Investment Promotion Agency of Guyana shared an analogy, “all of CARICOM can fit into Guyana.” In addition, several large infrastructure projects are underway, from road expansion networks in Georgetown, to road links aimed at connecting with neighbouring countries Suriname and Brazil. It is therefore no surprise that at the recently concluded CARICOM Heads of Government meeting held just two weeks ago under the Chairmanship of President Ali, the meeting hosted His Excellency Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, the President of Brazil. This signals a commitment to strengthen south-south cooperation among the parties.

Moreover, anyone traveling to Guyana recently would understand the challenges of securing quality accommodation at reasonable prices. This however is set to change, with the addition of close to 1000 rooms to the accommodation listing by 2025. Internationally branded hotels such as Hyatt Place, Four Point Sheraton, AC Marriott and Marriott Courtyard Hotel will add Guyana to their global footprint and increase the value proposition of the country.2

Other sectors poised for investment include ICT and innovation, critical inputs for enhancing the digital landscape of the country to make it internationally competitive and to take advantage of all the developments that will emerge. Moreover, as more than 80% of Guyana is covered in forests3 , this augurs well for ecological services and green output. Consequently, while Guyana will experience record oil production in the coming years, upstream and downstream investments will be cross-cutting, catapulting economic yield. With a population of less than one million, there is insufficient local labour to meet the growing demand. Therefore, Caribbean nationals, and indeed others, will be heading to Guyana to take advantage of the growing economic activity, an ironic reversal as witnessed in the mid to late twentieth century when Guyanese left for the diaspora.

Based on the foregoing, Caribbean Export is therefore confident in its decision to host this forum with three featured themes for investment – Sustainable Agriculture, Digitalization of Business, and the Green Energy transition. The event is primed to follow the 2022 and 2023 iterations held in Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas respectively, with 500 business delegates in each showing, and global participation from more than 40 countries. These include investors and financial institutions, C-suite executives from regional and international conglomerates, and regional and international partners.

It would be remiss to not point out the strong partnerships that Caribbean Export has endured over the years in its work supporting the Caribbean’s private sector. Our 92% implementation rate achieved in 2023 for the 11th European Development Fund Regional Private Sector Development Programme which ended in September 2023 is proof of the Agency’s leadership in this space, and the high-level meetings over the week stand as a testament to the strength of our collaboration.

Thanks to the Head of the EU Delegation in Guyana Ambassador Van Nes, CARICOM Assistant Secretary General for Economic Integration, Innovation and Development Joseph Cox, IDB Country Representative for Guyana Lorena Solorzano-Salazar, as well as the leadership of several private sector agencies such as the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association and the EU-Guyana Chamber of Commerce. The team also met with senior representatives of the Office of the President, the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and Go-Invest. These partners were apprised of the work of the Agency, and on the staging of CIF2024.

CIF2024 will showcase the best of Guyana with the opening ceremony on Wednesday 10th July where H.E. Irfaan Ali will present his keynote address followed by a cultural evening and networking reception. The following two days will include morning plenary sessions with presentations of shovel ready projects in the three areas, as well as the investment village and expo featuring product demonstrations, business meetings and country presentations from Caribbean Investment Promotion Agencies in the afternoon.
Indeed, there is a buzz in Guyana, and the energy is palpable. We look forward to seeing you then.

  1.’s%20highest,fastest%2Dgrowing%20economy%20in%202024 ↩︎
  2. Guyana Tourism Authority, in Georgetown Chamber of Commerce Publication 2023 ↩︎
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