March 24, 2022
Speaking at the Caribbean Investment Forum, March 22, 2022, His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali said that the Caribbean region is a stable platform with all of the components for a modern and emerging economy.
President Ali highlighted the region’s economic potential and spoke extensively about opportunities in environmental services, the blue economy, agriculture, infrastructure, tourism and other areas of potential and predicted growth.
“Once you have the capital, the foresight, access to technology, then the Caribbean region is a destination you should be looking at. It is a destination that offers you an opportunity to build a complex, multifaceted investment platform. And it’s a region that is looking at being self-sufficient in many areas.”
Market access and location
Although the region’s population is small, the president believes that the market access it provides through its booming tourism industry, allows investments to thrive. Coupled with this, he noted that the Caribbean is not only a zone of peace but an “exclusive zone of tolerance and inclusiveness”, built on resilience and diversity.
The location of the region and its direct access to South, Central and North America were also highlighted.
“In almost each of these areas, we have specific investment agreements and trade arrangements that will give you a distinct advantage in pursuing your business interests.”
Infrastructure and logistics opportunities
He is of the belief that a complete rebuild of the logistics and transportation model is a priority of the region. “We could create all the goods, but if you don’t have the means to move the goods and the services, then you have a serious problem.”
Specific to Guyana, the president said his government is in talks with the Emirates on developing a logistics hub, while the prime minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, will be in the UAE to work on a project called the ‘Sea Bridge’.
These projects, the president said, will move people, goods and services throughout the region. He assured that every country in the region is “committed to providing an incentive mechanism to support this logistics and transportation model”.
“Unless we fix this problem, in terms of logistics and transportation, we will not be able to capture the results we want to capture. We are now talking about building a bridge between Guyana and Suriname. Suriname is looking to build a bridge between Suriname and French Guiana. We are looking at building an infrastructure that will support the development within the region. So, there is the opportunity, and that is why today, as leaders in the region, we are more outward-looking.”
President Ali also spoke extensively on Guyana’s current position, its ongoing development, and the country’s future.
In addition to the infrastructural and logistics expansion and development, the president spoke of Guyana’s 18.3 million hectares of standing forests covering over 87 percent of the country’s land. He also highlighted Guyana’s 92.5 gigatonnes of carbon that is conserved (forest stored), which represents a US$195B in the carbon market.
He also spoke of the country’s non-oil natural resources and about Guyana’s potential in agriculture, especially as it relates to CARICOM’s reduction of its food import bill by 25 percent by 2025 through local agriculture expansion in member states.
Guyana, like other CARICOM nations, the president added, is moving forward through the use of renewable energy and through solid, long-term, investments.
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