EU joins calls for diversified economy as Guyana’s O&G sector balloons

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European Union Ambassador to Guyana Mr. Fernando Ponz Canto has joined the call for the South American country to diversify the economy and ensure that it does not become reliant on just the oil and gas sector.

He made these calls on Thursday, December 10, during a joint media engagement with Guyanese President, Dr. Irfaan Ali. “It is important to diversify and I know Mr. President that you are fully aware of that …Diversification is important. It is essential. Diversity in terms of products but also in terms of partners,” he stated.  “We believe in terms of partnerships; we believe in multiple partnerships. We believe in multilateralism and we look forward to cooperating closer with Guyana on all kinds of multilateral issues.”

Diversification of Guyana’s economy–which traditionally relied on the agriculture, mining, fisheries, and forestry sectors–has been a keen focus for the government. President Ali has in the past said that the country’s economy will not be reliant on oil and gas but will instead include agriculture, value added, industrial development, human resource advancement, health as a foreign currency earner, education as a foreign currency earner, knowledge transfer and technology.

On Thursday, he assured the EU Ambassador that the country will ensure that the economy is not a ‘one pillar foundation’. He said the economic profile and the revenue base will be dynamic so that “in times of shock in one particular sector or another, the economy will be variable enough to withstand such shock.”

Critical to this goal, the President noted, are agricultural diversification, industrialisation, manufacturing, and the development of a sustainable energy sector linking the country’s economic prospects with the region and its neighbours.

Guyana’s prospects continue to grow, with the country’s oil and gas sector rapidly expanding and attracting mammoth interest from foreign investors following 18 discoveries by ExxonMobil in the country’s offshore Stabroek block. The discoveries made so far amount to an estimated 9 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources.

The Liza Phase 1, 2 and Payara developments have seen a total investment of about US$20 billion by ExxonMobil and partners to date with the US$9 billion Payara Development Project being the largest investment in the country’s history.

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