Economy of Guyana

With a per capita gross domestic product of $8,300 in 2016 and an average GDP growth of 4.2% over the last decade. Guyana is one of the fastest developing countries in the Western Hemisphere. This is evident from the contrast between poor slum areas and elite residential areas with imperious mansions, often built within a few kilometers of one another.

Economy of Guyana
CurrencyGuyanese dollar (GYD)
Calendar year
Trade organisations
GDPIncrease $3.636 (nominal, 2018 est.)[1]
Increase $6.664 (PPP, 2018 est.)[1]
GDP rank160th (nominal, 2018)
161st (PPP, 2017)
GDP growth
2.6% (2016) 2.1% (2017)
3.4% (2018e) 4.6% (2019f) [2][3]
GDP per capita
Increase $4,648 (nominal, 2018 est.)[1]
Increase $8,519 (PPP, 2018 est.)[1]
GDP per capita rank
100th (nominal, 2017)
117th (PPP, 2017)
GDP by sector
agriculture: 15.4%
industry: 15.3%
services: 69.3% (2017 est.)[3]
2.924% (2019f est.)[1]
1.296% (2018f est.)[1]
2.0% (2017 est.)[1][3]
0.8% (2016 est.)[1][3]
Population below poverty line
35% (2006 est.)[3]
44.6 (2007)[3]
Labour force
313,800 (2013 est.)[3]
Labour force by occupation
UnemploymentPositive decrease 11.1% (2013)[3]
Main industries
bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining
124th (2017)[4]
ExportsIncrease$1.439 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Export goods
sugar, gold, bauxite, alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber
Main export partners
 Canada 24.9%
 United States 16.5%
 Panama 9.6%
 United Kingdom 7.7%
 Jamaica 5.1%
 Trinidad and Tobago 5% (2017)[3]
ImportsIncrease$1.626 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Import goods
manufactures, machinery, petroleum, food
Main import partners
 Trinidad and Tobago 27.5%
 United States 26.5%
 China 8.9%
 Suriname 6.1% (2017)[3]
FDI stock
Decrease -$237 million (2017 est.)[3]
Negative increase $1.69 billion (31 December 2017 est.)[3]
Public finances
Negative increase 52.2% of GDP (2017 est.)[3]
-4.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)[3]
Revenues$1.002 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Expenses$1.164 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Economic aid$84 million
Foreign reserves
Decrease$565.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)[3]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.
Guyana Export Treemap
Guyana Export Treemap


The economy made dramatic progress after President Hoyte's 1989 economic recovery program (ERP). As a result of the ERP, Guyana's GDP increased six percent in 1991 following 15 years of decline. Growth was consistently above six percent until 1995, when it dipped to 5.1 percent. The government reported that the economy grew at a rate of 7.9 percent in 1996, 6.2 percent in 1997, and fell 1.3 percent in 1998. The 1999 growth rate was three percent. The unofficial growth rate in 2005 was 0.5 percent. In 2006, it was 3.2%.

Developed in junction with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the ERP significantly reduced the government's role in the economy, encouraged foreign investment, enabled the government to clear all its arrears on loan repayments to foreign governments and the multilateral banks, and brought about the sale of 15 of the 41 government-owned (parastatal) businesses. The cellphone company and assets in the timber, rice, and fishing industries also were privatized. International corporations were hired to manage the huge state sugar company, GuySuCo, and the largest state bauxite mine. An American company was allowed to open a bauxite mine, and two Canadian companies were permitted to develop the largest open-pit gold mine in South America. However, efforts to privatize the two state-owned bauxite mining companies, Berbice Mining Company and Linden Mining Company have so far been unsuccessful.

Most price controls were removed, the laws affecting mining and oil exploration were improved, and an investment policy receptive to foreign investment was announced. Tax reforms designed to promote exports and agricultural production in the private sector were enacted.

Agriculture and mining are Guyana's most important economic activities, with sugar, bauxite, rice, and gold accounting for 70–75 percent of export earnings. However, the rice sector experienced a decline in 2000, with export earnings down 27 percent through the third quarter 2000. Ocean shrimp exports, which were heavily impacted by a one-month import ban to the United States in 1999, accounted for only 3.5 percent of total export earnings that year. Shrimp exports rebounded in 2000, representing 11 percent of export earnings through the third quarter 2000. Other exports include timber, diamonds, garments, rum, and pharmaceuticals. The value of these other exports is increasing.

Since 1986, Guyana has received its entire wheat supply from the United States on concessional terms under a PL 480 Food for Peace programme. It is now supplied on a grant basis. The Guyanese currency generated by the sale of the wheat is used for purposes agreed upon by the U.S. and Guyana Governments. As with many developing countries, Guyana is heavily indebted. Reduction of the debt burden has been one of the present administration's top priorities. In 1999, through the Paris Club "Lyons terms" and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative Guyana managed to negotiate $256 million in debt forgiveness.

In qualifying for HIPC assistance, for the first time, Guyana became eligible for a reduction of its multilateral debt. About half of Guyana's debt is owed to the multilateral development banks and 20% to its neighbour Trinidad and Tobago, which until 1986 was its principal supplier of petroleum products. Almost all debt to the U.S. government has been forgiven. In late 1999, net international reserves were at $123.2 million, down from $254 million in 1994. However, net international reserves had rebounded to $174.1 million by January 2001.

Guyana's extremely high debt burden to foreign creditors has meant limited availability of foreign exchange and reduced capacity to import necessary raw materials, spare parts, and equipment, thereby further reducing production. The increase in global fuel costs also contributed to the country's decline in production and growing trade deficit. The decline of production has increased unemployment. Although no reliable statistics exist, combined unemployment and underemployment are estimated at about 30%.

Emigration, principally to the U.S. and Canada, remains substantial. Net emigration in 1998 was estimated to be about 1.4 percent of the population, and in 1999, this figure totaled 1.2 percent. After years of a state-dominated economy, the mechanisms for private investment, domestic or foreign, are still evolving. The shift from a state-controlled economy to a primarily free market system began under Desmond Hoyte and continued under PPP/CIVIC governments. The current PPP/C administration recognizes the need for foreign investment to create jobs, enhance technical capabilities, and generate goods for export.

The foreign exchange market was fully liberalized in 1991, and currency is now freely traded without restriction. The rate is subject to change on a daily basis, but the Guyana dollar has depreciated 17.6% from 1998 to 2000 and may depreciate further pending the stability of the post-election period.

Guyana is a member of the WTO.


The following table shows the main economic indicators in 1980–2017.[5]

Year 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
GDP in $
1.28 Bln. 1.37 Bln. 1.38 Bln. 2.19 Bln. 2.73 Bln. 3.14 Bln. 3.40 Bln. 3.73 Bln. 3.88 Bln. 4.04 Bln. 4.37 Bln. 4.59 Bln. 4.90 Bln. 5.24 Bln. 5.54 Bln. 5.77 Bln. 6.05 Bln. 6.29 Bln.
GDP per capita in $
1.690 1,862 1,915 3,014 3,675 4,223 4,567 5,003 5,189 5,380 5,669 6,076 6,469 6,890 7,254 7,533 7,874 8,161
GDP growth
−2.0 % 0.4 % −3.0 % 5.0 % −1.3 % −1.9 % 5.2 % 7.0 % 1.9 % 3.3 % 4.4 % 5.4 % 4.8 % 5.2 % 3.8 % 3.1 % 3.3 % 2.1 %
(in Percent)
14.1 % 15.0 % 64.3 % 12.2 % 6.1 % 6.9 % 6.8 % 12.2 % 8.1 % 3.0 % 4.3 % 4.4 % 2.4 % 1.9 % 0.7 % −0.9 % 0.8 % 2.1 %
Government debt
(Percentage of GDP)
... ... ... ... 131 % 119 % 97 % 61 % 63 % 67 % 68 % 67 % 64 % 58 % 52 % 50 % 51 % 51 %

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2018". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  2. ^ "January 2019 Global Economic Prospects -- Darkening Skies p. 84" (PDF). World Bank. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "The World Factbook". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Ease of Doing Business in Guyana". Retrieved 2017-01-23.
  5. ^ "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". Retrieved 2018-09-19.
Bank of Guyana

The Bank of Guyana is the central bank of Guyana. It was established in 1965 in advance of the country's independence in 1966.

The current governor is Dr. Gobind Ganga.

Booker Group

Booker Group plc was the United Kingdom's largest food wholesale operator, offering branded and private label goods to over 400,000 customers, including independent convenience stores, grocers, pubs, and restaurants. The company also founded, and was previously a sponsor of, the Booker Prize (originally the Booker–McConnell Prize) for literary fiction, which was established in 1968.In January 2017, it was announced that the supermarket retailer Tesco had agreed to merge the company for £3.7 billion. It was confirmed on 5 March 2018 that Tesco had completed its merger of Booker.

British Guiana

British Guiana was the name of the British colony, part of the British West Indies (Caribbean), on the northern coast of South America, now known as the independent nation of Guyana (since 1966).

The first European to discover Guiana was Sir Walter Raleigh, an English explorer. The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle there, starting in the early 17th century, when they founded the colonies of Essequibo and Berbice, adding Demerara in the mid-18th century. In 1796, Great Britain took over these three colonies during hostilities with the French, who had occupied the Netherlands. Britain returned control to the Batavian Republic in 1802 but captured the colonies a year later during the Napoleonic Wars. The colonies were officially ceded to the United Kingdom in 1814 and consolidated into a single colony in 1831. The colony's capital was at Georgetown (known as Stabroek prior to 1812).

As the British developed the colony for sugarcane plantations, they imported many Africans as slave labour. The economy has become more diversified since the late 19th century but has relied on resource exploitation. Guyana became independent of the United Kingdom on 26 May 1966.

Carnival of Cayenne

The Carnival of Cayenne is the most famous of French Guiana Carnivals. This carnival is renowned around the world for the diversity and originality of its costumes. Together with the Kourou Carnival and the Saint-Laurent Carnival, it is one of the most important carnivals in the region.

This carnival is also known for its parade, the Parade of Cayenne (also called Parade of the Capital), where participate groups invited from Metropolitan France, Suriname, Brazil and Caribbean.

Chantal Berthelot

Chantal Berthelot is a French politician , former member of the French National Assembly representing French Guiana.

Electricity sector in Guyana

The electricity sector in Guyana is dominated by Guyana Power and Light (GPL), the state-owned vertically integrated utility. Although the country has a large potential for hydroelectric and bagasse-fueled power generation, most of its 226 MW of installed capacity correspond to inefficient thermoelectric diesel-engine driven generators.

Reliability or electricity supply is very low, linked both to technical and institutional deficiencies in the sector, with total losses close to 40% and commercial losses of about 30%. This low reliability has led most firms to install their own diesel generators, which in turn leads to higher than average electricity costs.

Guyana Stock Exchange

The Guyana Stock Exchange is the newest exchange in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) bloc of countries. Trading began June 30, 2003 and takes place weekly via word of mouth on the trading floor supported by an electronic limit order book. Several companies in Trinidad and Tobago (such as RBTT) have considered cross-listing themselves on the Guyana Stock Exchange. Trinidad Cement Limited became the first to do so early in January 2007.

The Guyana Association of Securities Companies and Intermediaries Inc. (GASCI) operates the. GASCI is registered with the Guyana Securities Council.In December 27, 2007 the market capitalisation of the local stocks stood at US$275.3M.

Guyanese dollar

The Guyanese dollar (currency sign: $, G$ and GY$; ISO: GYD) has been the unit of account in Guyana (formerly British Guiana) since 29 January 1839. Originally it was intended as a transitional unit to facilitate the changeover from the Dutch guilder system of currency to the British pound sterling system. The Spanish dollar was already prevalent throughout the West Indies in general, and from 1839, the Spanish dollar unit operated in British Guiana in conjunction with British sterling coins at a standard conversion rate of one dollar for every four shillings and twopence. In 1951 the British sterling coinage was replaced with a new decimal coinage which was simultaneously introduced through all the British territories in the Eastern Caribbean. When sterling began to depreciate in the early 1970s, a switch to a US dollar peg became increasingly attractive as an anti-inflationary measure and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority (of which Guyana was a member) made the switch in October 1975. The Guyanese dollar is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively G$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies.

Index of Guyana-related articles

The following is an alphabetical list of topics related to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

List of Guyanese regions by Human Development Index

This is a list of regions of Guyana by Human Development Index as of 2017.

Outline of Guyana

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Guyana:

Guyana – previously known as British Guiana, is the only nation state of the Commonwealth of Nations on the mainland of South America. Bordered to the east by Suriname, to the south and southwest by Brazil and to the west by Venezuela, it is the third-smallest country on the mainland of South America. It is one of four non-Spanish-speaking territories on the continent, along with the countries of Brazil (Portuguese), Suriname (Dutch) and the French overseas region of French Guiana (French).

Petroleum exploration in Guyana

Guyana has a history of petroleum exploration. Guyana's offshore Guyana Basin and the inland Takatu Basin have attracted companies such as Shell, Total and Mobil since the 1940s whom completed much geological surveyance of the area and drilled a number of wells.Petroleum production in Guyana is effecting a major boost to the economy of Guyana. In 2008, there were four companies undertaking exploration work in Guyana. ExxonMobil, Repsol, Century Guyana Ltd. and CGX. The Petroleum Division of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission has the responsibility of monitoring exploration in Guyana.

Guyana gained attention in the world in May 2015 when ExxonMobil announced the discovery of more than 90 metres of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs about 200 km off its coastline . The Liza-1 well was drilled to 5,433 metres in 1,742 metres of water, and was the first well on the Stabroek block, which is 26,800 square kilometres in size. The well may start producing by the end of the decade, could potentially produce 700 million barrels of oil equivalent — that would make it worth $40 billion at today’s international crude price. The discovery could be significant for Guyana, which currently does not produce any oil and could use the economic boost.

The oil and gas exploration activity by Guyana has been a source of tension with neighboring Venezuela. In May 2015, Guyana announced the significant discovery, which set off a round of recriminations between Venezuela and its eastern neighbor. Officials in Caracas, which has long had claims on Guyana's Essequibo region, have alleged that the concession is located in disputed waters.In May 2015 ExxonMobil announced discovery of significant oil in the Liza-1 well, followed by Payara, Liza deep, Snoek, Turbot, Ranger and Pacora by early 2018. ExxonMobil and Hess reported that new discoveries contain estimated resources exceeding 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent, potentially producing 750,000 barrels per day by 2025. The value of oil dwarfs the roughly $3 billion gross domestic product of Guyana. As Exxon continues development, the small nation is likely looking at a windfall in royalties. For a country of less than a million people, the find changes everything. Within a decade Guyana could be completely transformed by the find going from unpaved roads and sporadic power to being a developed nation.

Revenue stamps of British Guiana and Guyana

British Guiana, now known as Guyana, first issued revenue stamps in 1865 and continues to do so to this day.


Sugarcane, or sugar cane, are several species of tall perennial true grasses of the genus Saccharum, tribe Andropogoneae, native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South, Southeast Asia, and New Guinea, and used for sugar production. It has stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in the sugar sucrose, which accumulates in the stalk internodes. The plant is two to six metres (six to twenty feet) tall. All sugar cane species can interbreed and the major commercial cultivars are complex hybrids. Sugarcane belongs to the grass family Poaceae, an economically important seed plant family that includes maize, wheat, rice, and sorghum, and many forage crops.

Sucrose, extracted and purified in specialized mill factories, is used as raw material in the food industry or is fermented to produce ethanol. Sugarcane is the world's largest crop by production quantity, with 1.9 billion tonnes produced in 2016, and Brazil accounting for 41% of the world total. In 2012, the Food and Agriculture Organization estimated it was cultivated on about 26 million hectares (64 million acres), in more than 90 countries.

The global demand for sugar is the primary driver of sugarcane agriculture. Cane accounts for 79% of sugar produced; most of the rest is made from sugar beets. Sugarcane predominantly grows in the tropical and subtropical regions (sugar beets grow in colder temperate regions). Other than sugar, products derived from sugarcane include falernum, molasses, rum, cachaça (a traditional spirit from Brazil), bagasse, and ethanol. In some regions, people use sugarcane reeds to make pens, mats, screens, and thatch. The young, unexpanded inflorescence of Saccharum edule (duruka or tebu telor) is eaten raw, steamed, or toasted, and prepared in various ways in Southeast Asia, including Fiji and certain island communities of Indonesia.Sugarcane was an ancient crop of the Austronesian and Papuan people. It was introduced to Polynesia, Island Melanesia, and Madagascar in prehistoric times via Austronesian sailors. It was also introduced to southern China and India by Austronesian traders at around 1200 to 1000 BC.

The Persians, followed by the Greeks, encountered the famous "reeds that produce honey without bees" in India between the 6th and 4th centuries BC. They adopted and then spread sugarcane agriculture. Merchants began to trade in sugar from India, which was considered a luxury and an expensive spice. In the 18th century AD, sugarcane plantations began in Caribbean, South American, Indian Ocean and Pacific island nations and the need for laborers became a major driver of large human migrations, both the voluntary in indentured servants. and the involuntary migrations, in the form of slave labor.

University of Guyana

The University of Guyana, in Georgetown, Guyana, is Guyana’s sole national higher education institution. It was established in April 1963 with the following Mission: "To discover, generate, disseminate, and apply knowledge of the highest standard for the service of the community, the nation, and of all mankind within an atmosphere of academic freedom that allows for free and critical enquiry."

The University of Guyana now offers more than 60 under-graduate and graduate (post- graduate) programmes, including in Natural Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Urban Planning and Management, Tourism Studies, Education, Creative Arts, Economics, Law, Medicine, Optometry and Nursing. Several online programmes are available, as are extramural classes through the IDCE at four locations—in the city of Georgetown and the towns of Anna Regina, Essequibo, Region 2; Linden, Upper Demerara, Region 4; and New Amsterdam, Berbice, Region 6. The institution has a 2016 enrollment of some 8,000 students, and it has graduated more than 20,000 students, who have gone on to successful careers locally, regionally and internationally in all professional fields of endeavor. The University also is a major contributor to the public and private sectors and to the national economy of Guyana.

Flag of Guyana.svg Economy of Guyana
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