The U.S. Department of State’s Investment Climate Statements provide information on the business climates of more than 170 economies and are prepared by economic officers stationed in embassies and posts around the world. They analyze a variety of economies that are or could be markets for U.S. businesses. The Investment Climate Statements are also references for working with partner governments to create enabling business environments that are not only economically sound, but address issues of labor, human rights, responsible business conduct, and steps taken to combat corruption. The reports cover topics including Openness to Investment, Legal and Regulatory Systems, Protection of Real and Intellectual Property Rights, Financial Sector, State-Owned Enterprises, Responsible Business Conduct, and Corruption.
These statements highlight persistent barriers to further U.S. investment. Addressing these barriers would expand high-quality, private sector-led investment in infrastructure, further women’s economic empowerment, and facilitate a healthy business environment for the digital economy.
Guyana is located on South America’s North Atlantic coast, bordering Venezuela, Suriname, and Brazil, and is the only English-speaking country on the continent. Guyana became an oil producing nation in 2019 and, with a population of roughly 800,000, is poised to dramatically increase its per capita wealth. While GDP per capita is skyrocketing thanks to oil production and 2022 GDP growth of 62 percent, but many still live under the poverty line. Guyana’s economy is projected to grow by 37 percent in 2023 alongside a 6.6 percent inflation rate, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Guyana’s offshore oil development is poised to deliver over 500,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) by the end of 2023 with expectations that the country will produce 1.2 million bpd by 2027.
A consortium with a U.S. company as a majority shareholder is developing Guyana’s over 11 billion barrels of offshore oil and gas deposits. Industry experts expect Guyana’s total recoverable oil deposits to increase as exploration activities expand to other offshore blocks, which remain unexplored and for which an auction was expected in 2023. Guyana’s Natural Resource Fund (NRF) is anticipated to exceed $2 billion by end of 2023. Guyana is quickly transforming into a regional destination for international investment as it seeks to spend its oil revenues on transformational change and improved services for its people. Guyana’s foreign direct investments (FDI) have seen a 47% or $629 million growth in the first six months of 2022 to nearly $2 billion. Guyana welcomes U.S. investors.
Attempts to diversify the economy away from oil and gas have been slow to produce results. Local content requirements for the oil and gas sector were legislated in 2022, and oil and gas accounts for more than 50 percent of the total GDP. Guyana’s export composition remains largely dependent on natural resources. To diversify the economy away from oil and gas, the GoG is offering incentives for investment in the agriculture, business support services, health, information technology manufacturing and energy sectors, especially in outlying regions, through the Guyana Office for Investment, or GOINVEST. At the same time, processes including the government tender process are slow and often opaque, with some tenders expiring and being re-issued after a year passes without decision. Some major tenders have seen increased transparency, with international experts brought in to assess bidder qualifications.
Guyana has taken steps to address climate change through the adoption of its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which seeks to create financial incentives for maintaining the country’s intact forests covering 84 percent of the landmass, watersheds, and unique biodiversity. Guyana sold 30 percent of its carbon credits in 2022 and remains open to the sale of the remaining carbon credits as it utilizes the funds to preserve its forests.
The GoG’s 2023 priorities include significant infrastructure investments, energy developments, education, bolstering healthcare services, diversifying, and expanding agriculture sector, and improving the business climate. Many businesses report their key challenges to doing business in Guyana include increasing crime, the high cost of electricity, unclear interpretation of the law or lengthy delays at customs, contentious tax issues, and access to land. However, the GoG has taken steps to address the challenges including the Gas to Energy project to reduce the cost of electricity and is developing a single window for processing housing and business permits.
The majority of Guyana’s population resides on the coastal area, including much of the population residing under sea level in locations at high risk for flooding. In 2022, Guyana continues to feel the pain from the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine which resulted in higher food and energy prices.