Guyana

Region: South America

Capital: Georgetown

Population: 756,000 (UNDP 2010)

Surface area: 214,970 sq km

Currency: Guyanese dollar (GYD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US US $7,500 (2011 est.CIA)

Background:
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. This 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.

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 120% in 2007. Guyana became heavily indebted as a result of the inward-looking, state-led development model pursued in the 1970s and 1980s. Growth slowed in 2009 as a result of the world recession, but picked up in 2010-11. The slowdown in the domestic economy and lower import costs helped to narrow the country”s current account deficit, despite generally lower earnings from exports.

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

Remittances:399 million USD (World Bank 2011 est.)

Human Development Index 2011: 117 out of 187 countries (UNDP 2011)

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA US $153 million

Major development partners include: IDB Sp. Funds, E.U. Institutions, U.S.A, Norway, Global Fund (OECD 2010)

Total External Debt:  US $1.234 billion (December -CIA 2010)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 69.9 years

Environmental Indicators:

                                              Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 3

                                              Forested Area (percentage of land area): 77.2

                                              CO2 Emissions(tonnes per capita):2.0

                                              (Data Source: UNDP, 2011)

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.10017USA
Telephone: 212-573-5828, 5829
Fax: 212-573-6225,
Website: www.un.int/wcm/content/site/guyana/

Sources:

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov

World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org

Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org

Human Development Report 2011.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

 

Updated July 2012