Guyana is a low income country, and the third smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay, with about 800,000 inhabitants. It is the third poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti and Nicaragua, with a per capita GDP of approximately US$3,763 (2014)
Guyana is well endowed with natural resources, fertile agricultural lands, bauxite, gold and extensive tropical forests which cover more than 80 percent of the country. Guyana has one of the lowest deforestation rates in the world and 90 percent of Guyana’s forest remains intact. Most of the country’s indigenous population lives in forests on which they depend for their livelihood. About 90 percent of the population lives on the narrow coastal plain, where population density is more than 115 persons per square kilometer.
Guyana generates a large share of its economic activity from agriculture and natural resources sectors. In 1993, the traditional sectors of sugar, rice and bauxite accounted for 30.4 percent of Guyana’s GDP and 57.7 percent of the country’s export earnings. Progress in diversifying the economy, resulted in tthe agriculture sector accounting for 20 percent of GDP, and still accounts for a large share of the country’s economy. The contribution of the gold sector, which now approximate 10 percent of GDP has doubled since mid-2000s [These sectors provide the largest source of direct employment across the country.
Between 2006 and 2013, Guyana’s economic performance has significantly stabilized, expanding by an average of 4.7 percent per annum. This can be partly explained by the commodity boom, favoring its base of extractive industries along with significant foreign direct investment (FDI). The timely introduction of a Value Added Tax (VAT) and the implementation of debt relief agreements, under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) along with the Multilateral Debt Relief Agreements Initiative (MDRI) have contributed to Guyana’s macroeconomic resurgence.
Real GDP growth slowed in 2014 (3.8 percent) reflecting the softening in global commodity prices including gold and bauxite. There were, however notable improvements in the services and manufacturing sectors.
Real GDP growth is projected to fluctuate within the range of 3 percent to 5 percent during 2015-2018. Economic activities will be driven by continued investments in primary industries. Potential offshore and hydro-energy projects may also attract foreign investment and further boost growth. Inflation is expected to remain relatively subdued. Nonetheless, volatile commodity prices represent a significant risk.
Last Updated: Sep 08, 2015