Guyana Races To Benefit From Oil Wealth
Guyana is a small country, with a population of just 800,000, on the north-eastern coast of South America, but it currently boasts the fastest growing economy in the world, thanks to recent discoveries of huge amounts of oil in its coastal waters.
During the last decade, the country has built up oil reserves of about 11 billion barrels, which puts it in the top 20 in terms of potential and on a par with Brazil.
However, it comes at a time when the planet is weaning itself off fossil fuels to tackle climate change, and under the 2015 Paris Agreement countries have vowed to cut down on oil use. Therefore, the country is in a race against time to make the best use of its newfound oil wealth before it is too late.
The oil discovery has transformed the Guyanese economy, which grew by 62% last year according to the IMF and is expected to grow a further 37% this year. Much of the country is rainforest and with such a small population, the potential for ‘per capita growth’ is huge.
Guyana borders Venezuela, Brazil and Suriname, but has a territorial dispute with Venezuela which claims two thirds of its land as its own. Two previous rulings have come down in favour of Guyana and a case is now open before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Guyana’s President – Irfaan Ali – recently commented “We are very clear as to where our borders are and we are very confident about our case”.