Friday, May 20, 2022

New oil producing nation remains focused on diversification; gears for inaugural Agri Expo

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Determined to avert the perils associated with the Dutch Disease; a phenomenon that has weakened regional counterparts like Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana is advancing several efforts to have a highly diversified economy.

Along with the GY$22B budgetary allocation for agricultural development at a transformational scale this year, the new South American oil-producing nation is gearing for its inaugural Agri-Investment Forum and Expo, scheduled for May 19-21, 2022, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) at Liliendaal.

During a meeting on Friday between President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali and senior staff of the Ministries of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, it was confirmed that a number of Heads of Government from the Caribbean and Central America would be in attendance.

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The leaders are from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. Ministers responsible for Agriculture from the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, St Vincent, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago are also expected for the three-day event.

The opening ceremony which is billed for next Thursday will feature remarks from all of the visiting Heads of Government. President Ali in his capacity as Lead Head with responsibility for Agriculture in the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet will deliver an address on the theme ‘Vision 25 by 2025’. This will address CARICOM’s vision of reducing its food import bill by 25% by 2025.

The event which is being hosted by the Government of Guyana in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat is intended to stimulate investments in the sector so that the CARICOM agri-food system can become more resilient while providing attractive and sustainable economic opportunities for investors.

The specific objectives of the event are to promote the regional food system agenda and ‘25 by 2025 programme’; facilitate dialogue among stakeholders in the CARICOM agri-food system with a view to identifying specific areas in which investment is needed to overcome existing structural and operational challenges; and make potential investors and other stakeholders aware of new and emerging opportunities in CARICOM agriculture, including technological and logistical solutions.

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The event is also expected to allow for the matching of bankable agricultural projects with available private and public financing and the forging of a coordination mechanism for strategic partners to follow up on implementation issues surrounding financing for the sector.

Aside from regional leaders and dignitaries, over 300 persons from across the region have registered to participate in the event inclusive of investors, proponents of bankable projects seeking financing, financing institutions as well as development agencies.

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OilNOW understands that the event will feature a number of key investment-related activities inclusive of a Country-specific Investment Platform that will see investors presenting bankable projects for investment consideration in specific CARICOM Member States.

Additionally, there will be a Donor Roundtable Discussion where development financing agencies, bilateral and multilateral donors will focus on finding and supporting novel ideas and solutions within the context of the ‘25 by 2025 programme’.

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