Guyana is the third smallest country in South America and the third poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean. Prospects for 2012 are favorable, driven by sound policies, high commodity prices and expected investments in infrastructure. Read More »
Guyana is the third smallest country in South America and is also the third poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean. The country has one of the world’s highest forest cover per capita ratios: 80% of the country is covered by forest whilst 10% is a narrow coastal plain lying largely below sea level – where 90% of the population lives.
Being a center of biodiversity, Guyana provides environmental services on a global scale, including using the forest as a carbon sink that can generate a new revenue stream for the country. Much of the country’s indigenous population (9.2%) lives in forests on which they depend for their economic, social and cultural subsistence. These Amerindian communities hold formal land titles for over 2.4 million hectares.
Its annual deforestation rate is estimated at 0.1-0.3%, relatively low compared to most tropical countries, and is mainly due to forest clearing for mining, agriculture, and infrastructure, especially roads. Yet, 90% of Guyana’s forest remains intact.
Guyana weathered the effects of the recent global financial crisis very well when compared with other Caribbean countries or with the rest of the Latin American and Caribbean region. While most economies in the region contracted during the crisis years (2008-2009), the Guyanese economy recorded an average growth of 4%.
For 2012, the economy expanded by 3.7% down from 5.4% in 2011 and 4.4% in 2010. The economy is expected to expand by about 5.5% in 2013, reflecting increased activity in rice and gold production as well as improvement in the manufacturing sector. These projections are underpinned by the implementation of major infrastructure projects in mining and agriculture as well as the Guyana-Venezuela Rice Trade Agreement.
The Country Assistance Strategy (2009-2012), endorsed by the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors in May 2009 and ended in FY 2012. The CAS comprised a program of lending, technical assistance and analytical work to support the Government’s objective of accelerating and sustaining growth.
The two main areas of support are:
Environmental resilience and sustainability. The Bank's support focuses on helping the country establish pilot forest areas that are protected and sustainably managed by local communities, and strengthening the country's ability to reduce its exposure to natural disasters and global climate risk.
Education quality and social safety nets. The Bank is helping Guyana improve the quality of education through teacher training reform and better service delivery, while bolstering the Government's efforts to deliver an enhanced social protection program.
Financing to Guyana is channeled through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest that provides interest-free loans and grants to low-income countries, and through a series of trust funds managed by the Bank.
The World Bank Group is preparing to engage the government for a new CAS for FY14.
The Improving Teacher Education Project for Guyana (US$4.3 million) aims to improve the quality and efficiency of teacher education delivery, and to build human resources and capacity for more effective teaching and learning in alignment with the Government of Guyana’s Education Strategic Plan. It will support one of the primary goals of the Strategic Plan to reach at least 70% of teachers trained by 2013, while raising the standards of teacher education programs in the country.
The University of Guyana Science and Technology Support Project (US$10 million) seeks to support infrastructure, research and curricular improvements while building the basis for improved facilities management and future growth. An estimated 6,300 students and faculty will benefit from this project, which will strengthen science and technology tertiary education in order to advance Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). The project will rehabilitate laboratory and building infrastructure at four University faculties comprising 14 buildings and establish a campus wide internet network.