A recent analysis by FocusEconomics, a provider of global forecasts, states that Guyana will lead the list of top five nations with the fastest-growing economies up to 2026.
Following its examination of the economic prospects for nearly 200 nations, the independent research group said Macao, a special administrative region of China, along with Fiji, Niger and Libya will trail Guyana on the accelerated growth path.
With respect to Guyana, it said growth will average 25.8% due to its oil bonanza. It reminded that oil production rose from virtually zero in 2019 to over 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2021. It also noted that the World Bank sees output rising well beyond 400,000 bpd by 2024 as new projects come online.
Its report states that the ensuing boom in fiscal revenue should fuel public spending.
“This, together with the government’s local content policy to favour Guyanese individuals and firms in the energy sector, should support the non-oil economy,” wrote FocusEconomics.
The research group further stated that Guyana must still be wary of the numerous risks that could undermine its favourable outlook. It said, “the burgeoning energy sector could lead to cronyism and weaken institutions, as well as divert resources away from manufacturing and services. Ethnic tensions and protests are further clouds on the horizon.”
Other institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund have also issued similar cautionary statements. These financial institutions have urged authorities to be mindful of courting the resource curse, whereby dependence on revenues from the oil industry hinders the competitiveness of other traditional sectors such as agriculture and mining.
Expected to trail Guyana in second place with an average growth of 11.9% is Macao. FocusEconomics said this will largely reflect an uptick in tourism which was ravaged by China’s zero-tolerance Covid-19 policy and border restrictions. The strong growth projections for the coming years hinge on an eventual loosening of China’s Covid-19 stance and a subsequent rebound in foreign visitor arrivals.
Third on the list is Fiji with an average forecast of 7.7%. As with Macao, FocusEconomics said Fiji is extremely dependent on foreign visitors—particularly those from Australia and New Zealand. The economy suffered an over 15% contraction in 2020 at the height of the pandemic. This is expected to change as travel restrictions have been removed.
Coming in fourth is Niger with a 7.6% forecast. The research group said Niger’s economy will benefit in the coming years from rising oil production and exports.
Closing the list is Libya. The oil-dependent economy is expected to grow an average of 6.9% due to expected higher energy output and still-elevated crude prices. Political instability is listed as one of the main risks to its outlook.