Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Hugh Todd and the former United States Secretary of State, Mr. Michael Pompeo had in September 2020 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Working Group on energy and investment between the two countries. According to the agreement, the Working Group was set to be established within 90 days of its signing.
However, eight months have passed since that accord was signed, and the Foreign Affairs Minister has now indicated that the Guyana Government is awaiting word from the Joe Biden administration on the way forward.
In an exclusive interview with OilNOW, Mr. Todd said, “There has been a change in the U.S administration, and usually when there is a change, reviews on agreements and arrangements have to be made. Following that, the stakeholders would determine the way forward.”
Although this agreement was signed under the Donald Trump administration, which was voted out of office in January of this year, the foreign minister was quick to note that he does not envision that the Biden administration will abandon the agreement.
Further, he revealed that there has been no commitment on a correspondence timeline between the two governments, but reiterated that the agreement is still under “active consideration”
Reports by this publication indicate that this Working Group will be tasked with facilitating training and capacity building through seminars, workshops, courses, and exchange; as well as facilitating meetings between partner networks such as private companies, universities, research institutions, and other relevant organisations.
Furthermore, the Working Group is also geared towards strengthening cooperation on energy. According to the agreement, it also aims at “furthering cooperation between the participants [Guyana and the U.S] on solutions that are capable of addressing the various policy, legal, regulatory, institutional, and market barriers that are impeding the flow of private capital solutions.”
Through this agreement, Guyana and the United States are expected to partner with aims of identifying key legal, regulatory, and institutional barriers inhibiting broad-based investments in energy and other infrastructure, and mutually determine actions and/or technical assistance to achieve desired improvements.
Guyana had also agreed to increase U.S. private sector awareness of “strategic energy and other infrastructure projects in Guyana and exploring potential financial support from the U.S International Development Finance Corporation, the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the U.S Trade and Development Agency to facilitate private sector participation and investment in such projects.”
The agreement had further outlined, “The United States Department of the Treasury, Office of Technical Assistance, working jointly with the Ministry of Finance of Guyana and other ministries and institutions, as appropriate, intends to explore the development of financial capacity-building and technical collaboration programs contemplated under this framework.”