Vigilant about not falling prey to the resource curse or becoming dependent only on its newfound oil wealth, Guyana is strengthening its manufacturing and agro-processing infrastructure with a digital platform.
The platform when launched, will facilitate information sharing, connectivity and communication, and link products and service providers with customers nationally, regionally, and internationally.
This initiative is derived from a sponsorship of G$10 million by ExxonMobil Guyana to the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA). It is designed to boost the sale of goods and services primarily offered by Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) so that they can recover from and grow during and after the global pandemic.
In its statement to the media, the GMSA said that COVID-19 is negatively impacting small businesses, with some having to cease operations altogether. Vice President of the Association, Ramsay Ali said, “…given the COVID pandemic, new and innovative ways of promoting and doing business will need to be adopted (and) embracing technology is therefore critical going forward.”
Ali also revealed that a phased expansion of the project will include forestry and wood products and the services sectors. He added that the digital platform is “…an opportunity to embark on the use of ICT as part of Guyana’s strategic direction of moving to a green economy.”
ExxonMobil Guyana has been a longtime supporter of the GMSA’s UncappeD Initiative – a successful programme which has greatly increased public awareness of the range of agro-products produced locally and raised the profile of more than 100 agro-processors. It brings producers, suppliers, and support service providers together for greater output, to build capacity and to teach them how to more effectively and efficiently manage and grow their businesses.
President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge, reaffirmed his company’s commitment to the sector, stating, “This is a great opportunity for us to partner with the country and to help our SMEs in these unprecedented times, we are glad to be able to play a part in supporting the recovery of agro-processing and small businesses in Guyana affected by the pandemic.”
Since the discovery of oil in the South American nation in May 2015, its citizens have been encouraged to tap into the opportunities in the manufacturing and agro-processing sectors in which the government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars. Those investments appear to be paying off as the Ministry of Finance in its End of Year Outcome 2019 which was released to the public in June 2020, revealed that the manufacturing sector saw significant growth of 14.7 percent in 2019, the highest since 2013; rice production has expanded by 26.4 percent and other manufacturing which includes wood, pharmaceuticals and agro-processing, by 14 percent.