Guyana is now known around the world as having the hottest oil and gas basin where a series of unprecedented discoveries by ExxonMobil has placed the country 17th globally, for the largest hydrocarbon reserves.
But according to its President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, oil is not what Guyana will be ultimately renowned for.
“The story about Guyana is not oil and gas. We are a country that is rich in history; we are a country that will be – and mark my words – will be a leader on food security and agriculture, and importantly, we will be among the best eco-tourism destinations you can find,” Dr. Ali posited.
The oil, he added, is just a means to an end.
His comments were made during an interview with Al Jazeera’s John Hendren on the country’s oil boom.
The Guyanese President, since being elected in 2020, has been at the forefront of championing the diversification of the country’s economy to avoid the pitfalls of the dreaded resource curse – a global phenomenon that befalls many nations with massive oil and gas resources.
And it happens when there is an absence of prudent management of the funds accrued.
But Guyana is headed on the right path to diversification.
The country is determined to lead the Caribbean’s food security journey, already pumping millions into the agriculture sector. And when it brings its massive Gas-to-Energy project online, its manufacturing sector will become a force to be reckoned with.
Guyana has also invested millions into high-quality infrastructure – roads and even a new Demerara River Crossing. The country is also looking to use its oil revenues to make higher education free for its citizens.