Region: South America

Capital: Georgetown

Population: 735,554 (July 2014 CIA est.)

Surface area: 214,969 sq km

Currency: Guyanese dollar (GYD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $8,500 (2013 CIA est.)

Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to black settlement of urban areas and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations. The resulting ethnocultural divide has persisted and has led to turbulent politics. Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966, and since then it has been ruled mostly by socialist-oriented governments. In 1992, Cheddi JAGAN was elected president in what is considered the country’s first free and fair election since independence. After his death five years later, his wife, Janet JAGAN, became president but resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was reelected in 2001 and again in 2006. Donald RAMOTAR was elected president in 2011. (CIA 2014)

Economy – Overview:
The Guyanese economy exhibited moderate economic growth in recent years and is based largely on agriculture and extractive industries. The economy is heavily dependent upon the export of six commodities – sugar, gold, bauxite, shrimp, timber, and rice – which represent nearly 60% of the country’s GDP and are highly susceptible to adverse weather conditions and fluctuations in commodity prices. Guyana’s entrance into the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) in January 2006 has broadened the country’s export market, primarily in the raw materials sector. Guyana has experienced positive growth almost every year over the past decade. Inflation has been kept under control. Recent years have seen the government’s stock of debt reduced significantly – with external debt now less than half of what it was in the early 1990s. Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labor and a deficient infrastructure. Despite recent improvements, the government is still juggling a sizable external debt against the urgent need for expanded public investment. In March 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank, Guyana’s principal donor, canceled Guyana’s nearly $470 million debt, equivalent to 21% of GDP, which along with other Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt forgiveness brought the debt-to-GDP ratio down from 183% in 2006 to 60% in 2013. Guyana had become heavily indebted as a result of the inward-looking, state-led development model pursued in the 1970s and 1980s. Much of Guyana’s growth in recent years has come from a surge in gold production in response to global prices, although downward trends in gold prices may threaten future growth. In 2013, production of sugar dropped to a 23-year low. (CIA, 2014)

Major Export Commodities: sugar, gold, bauxite/alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber

Remittances inflows: US $469 million (World Bank 2012 est.)

Human Development Index 2013: 118 out of 186 countries (UNDP 2013)

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:
Net ODA US $114,450,000.
Major development partners include: IDB Sp. Funds, E.U. Institutions, U.S.A, Norway,  Global Fund (OECD 2012)

Total External Debt:  US $1.846 billion (31 December 2013 CIA est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 67.81 years (CIA 2014)

Environmental Indicators:
Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 3.8
Forested Area (percentage of land area): 77.2
CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita):2.0
(UNDP 2013)

United Nations membership date: 20 September 1966

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Guyana to the United Nations
801 Second Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, N.Y.10017 USA
Telephone: (212)-573-5828, -5829
Fax: 212-573-6225

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
World Development Indicators. World Bank
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Human Development Report 2013.United Nations Development Programme.

Updated January 2015