Guyana has suffered from brain drain for a very long time. The bulk of these migrants have gone on to live in the United States and Canada primarily, for better opportunities.
But with the discovery of oil and gas resources, and the economic growth already underway, the government is working to address factors historically responsible for Guyana’s brain drain problem and sees the large diaspora population as something that can be used in Guyana’s favour.
During a recent webinar focused on showing Guyanese in the diaspora business opportunities available to them, Chair of the Private Sector Commission, Paul Cheong, said that Guyana is the proverbial rose in the economic garden of the world, as it is growing rapidly even as many other countries reel from multiple global disruptions.
“With our economy growing at close to 50% this year, and many other countries facing challenges because of the remnants of covid and the ongoing Russia Ukraine war, Guyana is now the proverbial rose in the economic garden, and attracting bees – investors,” the business leader said.
He related that Guyana has been witnessing a multitude of businesses seeking opportunities in the country, from Dubai, Qatar, Ghana, Brazil, China, Holland, and the more frequent interest from North America, the Caribbean, and the United Kingdom.
However, Cheong posited that the time is right for Guyanese in the diaspora to take advantage of investment initiatives.
“One of the good things about migrating from Guyana is the exposure you receive living in the developed world, and this goes for all fields. Those experiences gained now put you in good stead to return and make a big contribution to our emerging Guyana,” he added.
Last year, Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud floated a remigrant package of benefits, including the removal of duty on the importation of certain vehicles. More recently, the government released an investment prospectus, outlining 55 areas it prefers investors to focus their attention, and offered incentives, including tax waivers.
Cheong encouraged investments in agriculture, aquaculture, hospitality and transport infrastructure.
There are multiple objectives in play as government and private sector leaders lure investors to Guyana’s shores. Increased economic activity has to be consistent with the government’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). They must also be targeted to certain priority sectors which will build Guyana’s resilience against the volatility of the oil market.