Analysis and News

Guyana an Investment Hotspot

BY GEOCAP's Contributor: Richard Bhainie

“The construction of the Hyatt Place Hotel shows our confidence in the economy, the tourism sector and of course business in Guyana,” - these were the sentiments shared by Imtiaz Ahamad, principal of SIR Investments Guyana Incorporated, at the sod-turning for the construction of a US$32.2 million hotel.

While addressing the gathering at the sod-turning on November 10, 2021 at the hotel’s Providence, East Bank Demerara site, Ahamad went on to say that his company is “pleased to participate in further growth and development” of Guyana and “look forward to a long and fruitful relationship” with the country.

Sentiments similar to these were uttered throughout the year 2021 and filled the pages of the press as investors flocked to the South American nation to set up shop; something which most credit to the country's new found oil wealth and the returns which are anticipated to flow from the sector.

However, in addition to the attractive oil and gas industry, what has been evident is that the new country’s new ruling party, the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), which was sworn in on August 2, 2020, has been pushing an investment agenda.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali spared no effort at marketing his country, Guyana, for its diverse economy and vast investment opportunities, by offering a glimpse of some of the country’s main features during his address at EXPO 2020 Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on October 19, 2021.

“I invite you all to come and do business in my country. We welcome you; we have an open economy, and with investor-friendly policies in place, including attractive incentive regimes, laws which protect the right to property, and which also allows freedom to repatriate profits,” President Ali said.

In the same month, on October 12, 2021, the country’s Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips assured Guyanese living in New York that there are endless business opportunities available due to the country’s rapidly growing economy.

“The opportunities for investment in Guyana are boundless… you can be assured of an ever-improving business environment and a growing economy which will support business expansion,” he said in his address at the Grace Christian Church in Brooklyn, New York.

These calls which were sounded since the PPP/C assumed office have not fallen on deaf ears. Not only is Guyana attracting major interests in the oil and gas sector, but every sector has seen investors being bullish to invest in the small nation with a population of less than 800,000.

The country has seen regional counterparts visiting to explore investment opportunities. In October, 2021, a high-level team from Barbados ventured to Guyana to seek investment opportunities, and to strengthen collaborative efforts between the two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations.

The visit by the Barbados Housing and Investment Mission which toured the country scouring for investment opportunities was a follow up to bilateral discussions between President Ali and Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley while he was in Barbados for the 15th Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 15) earlier in October, 2021.

In November, 2021, a team of 17 investors from Guyana’s neighbour, Suriname, visited to explore the investment opportunities in the various economic sectors. That trip followed a visit by President of the Republic of Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, and a delegation of government and private sector members to Guyana in August, 2021.

Suriname’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Co-operation, Albert Ramdin; Suriname’s Minister of Public Works, Riad Nurmohamed and Minister of Public Health, Ama Ramadhin, along with technical officers and other Government officials also visited in October, 2021.

Most recently, on November 16, 2021, President of the National Bar Association of the United States of America, Carlos Moore, Esq and a team arrived in Guyana. While looking to help the country improve its judicial and legal sectors, the team is also pursuing investment opportunities.

“I’m excited to take back to my members the things that are going on here in Guyana… the areas of housing, energy, infrastructure — we would like to invest in that,” Moore, Esq. said while meeting with Prime Minister Phillips and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Visiting the country is not a requirement to scope out investment opportunities. While in Dubai for EXPO 2020, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh met with Mubadala, the sovereign wealth investment company within the United Arab Emirates for investment talks.

The Hyatt Place Georgetown is the third world-class hotel to break ground in Guyana for the year 2021. It joined the US$20 million Marriott-branded hotel being constructed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and the US$15 million Aiden Hotel, under the Best Western Hotel & Resorts network, being erected in Georgetown.

Most recently, on November 16, 2021, Real Estate Maximums (REMAX) launched its Guyana operations and can now boast of operating in every country in South America. In addition to providing world class real estate services, REMAX Guyana also intends to provide training for agents operating in Guyana.

The named instances signalling investment confidence are just a very few cases and do not include direct investments in the oil and gas industry, neither investments being pursued by the Government of Guyana nor locals.

From January to June, 2021, foreign direct investments valuing over US$1.3 billion were recorded in Guyana - 41.6 percent higher than the US$940 million recorded at the end of June 2020. These investments are also against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent unprecedented flooding of the country and economic challenges.

“Guyana needs to convert its abundant resources. We need you; we welcome you, and we urge you to remember the name Guyana, and to keep the name Guyana in your plans for growth and development, both in country and by businesses and sectors.” - President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency, Dr. Irfaan Ali, EXPO 2020 Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on October 19, 2021.

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