Overview

Guyana is a middle-income country, and the third smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay, with about 800,000 inhabitants. Its per capita income in 2015 was US$4,090 (Atlas method). 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.

Agriculture and natural resources are important sources of economic activity in Guyana. In 2015 agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining industries accounted for 28 percent of total GDP, and bauxite, sugar, rice, gold and timber made up 83 percent of exports (Ministry of Finance, 2016). These sectors are also large source of jobs.

Guyana’s economic fortunes in recent years have reflected the path of global commodity prices. Between 2005 and 2014, the economy grew by 4.7 percent per year on average, ending a disappointing decade of alternating years of growth and contraction. However, real GDP growth decelerated to 3.1 percent in 2015, as commodity prices collapsed for Guyana’s major exports. Drought, and uncertainty surrounding the 2015 elections also contributed to slower growth. Preliminary estimates show growth of 3.3 percent in 2016. Increased output from mining, agriculture, and fishing compensated for lower global prices and balanced out contractions in forestry and manufacturing. 

The economy is expected to grow by around 3.6 percent in 2017–19. Most of this growth is expected to come from continued rapid growth of gold production and rebounding performance in other sectors. The discovery of oil off Guyana’s coast holds the promise of increased revenue to finance the country’s development needs—but brings with it new challenges that will require careful management of economic, governance, and environmental risks.

Last Updated: Apr 10, 2017

The Guyana Country Engagement Note (CEN) was endorsed by the Board on April 2016, and covers the period FY 2016-2018. The CEN is focusing on: (i) enhancing resilience of selected infrastructure and building disaster risk management capacities; (ii) setting up the foundations for high quality education; and (iii) laying the ground for private sector development.

Financing to Guyana is channeled through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund providing interest-free loans and grants to low-income countries, and through a series of trust funds managed by the Bank.

Under the CEN, IFC is looking for investment opportunities in the financial sector, mainly to support SMEs, and continues to support the mining sector with a focus on environmental and social standards. In addition, IFC will continue to support improving risk management practices in the financial sector and the credit bureau program. 

Last Updated: Apr 10, 2017

Significant results have been achieved in recent years in government projects financed by the World Bank Group.  These include:

  • Strengthening environmental resilience and sustainability: An emerging adaptation approach to flooding in low-lying coastal areas in Guyana has been developed. Together with the government, the Bank championed the establishment and management of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), being both a Trustee and a Partner Entity with the IDB and the UN. Norway committed US$250 million to the GRIF. The Bank recently signed a US$3.7 million grant agreement, funded by GRIF, for the rehabilitation of the Cunha Canal. The project will contribute to improving drainage in the East Demerara Water Canal.
  • Improving access and quality of education, particularly primary education: The number of untrained and unqualified teachers has declined by more than 40 percent and the community-based school feeding program has benefited more than 14,000 children in 93 out of 138 hinterland schools.
  • Since 2009, IFC has invested up to US$195 million (including mobilization from commercial banks and other financial institutions) in Guyana Goldfields, a Canadian company present in Guyana since the mid-1990s. 
  • IFC’s engagement with Guyana Goldfields helped establish a viable model for sustainable mining development in the country.

Last Updated: Apr 10, 2017



Welcome