Saturday, July 2, 2022

Guyana oil bounty can fuel massive economic diversification, says US Ambassador

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Given the favourable economics of the ExxonMobil-led Stabroek Block projects, Guyana’s projected trend of historic Gross Domestic Production (GDP) growth per capita will very likely continue for years to come. To ensure this level of economic growth translates to an improvement in the lives of all citizens, United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch has called for Guyana to vigourously pursue economic diversification. She said in no uncertain terms that this massive resource base must open the floodgates to economic diversification.

During the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) on Thursday, the US official said lower-cost and more reliable electricity must be available to manufacturers so that this can be achieved. She said too that land leases or permits must be available to agricultural investors, and reliable and high-quality infrastructure must be built including roads, bridges, and ports.

In addition, Ambassador Lynch said the tender process for selecting firms to provide support in these areas should really be modernised so Guyana receives the high-quality products it deserves which will enable its diversification.  “We know both the government and private sector are beginning to address some of these areas, and we are doing our part at the embassy by informing some of the best firms in the world about the opportunities in Guyana.  Some of these firms are large, others are small, and several have already developed joint ventures with Guyanese firms, including in the area of agriculture,” expressed the envoy.

She added, “Economic diversification is absolutely critical to achieving prosperity for all.  Just as Guyana’s high tide enables bigger ships to come to port, economic diversification can be a high tide that lifts all sectors and all people of Guyana.”

The Ambassador also noted her firm conviction that economic diversification will no doubt serve as a guardrail for Guyana against the dreaded Dutch Disease.

In pursuit of economic diversification, Ambassador Lynch said Guyana has the opportunity to benefit greatly from the involvement of US firms, while reminding that their arrival does not necessarily mean they are competitors, but rather, partners.

She was keen to note that she has often lobbied on behalf of locals that they would make strong and reliable partners for US conglomerates. “Of course, such firms have high standards and lots of rules which will likely require their own vetting of partners, but the US Embassy is very excited about the economic opportunities for local businesses that are reliable, trustworthy, and reputable.”

The Ambassador said in closing that Embassy Georgetown will continue to counsel US firms on the magnificent opportunities that exist in Guyana while reiterating the need for the oil producing State to make the best of its resources.

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