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GUYANA Unveiling new business openings Guyana is an ambitious country looking to make its presence felt on the global stage. can be attributed to a number of positive factors that include an increase in the amount of gold extracted from Guyanese mines which was further boosted by a sharp rise in global gold prices. Hinds believes that the growth in new sectors, such as IT and call centers forms a perfect fit with Guyana’s long-established industries of agriculture and mining. “We are looking to refashion the traditional sectors such as sugar, bauxite, timber, and rice, to make them more competitive,” Hinds states. “We are also focusing on new areas like tourism and timber products by utilizing the logs locally to make sawn lumber furniture and wood products. Mining remains an area of additional potential, while the IT and call center sector continues to grow steadily and now employs up to 3,000 people.” “We are looking to make the traditional sectors of According to the Prime Minister, Guyana offers sugar, bauxite, timber and rice more competitive [...] excellent investment potential in new business areas and are also focusing on new areas, such as ICT.” such as aquaculture and value-added natural products, like handicrafts created from non-timber products such Samuel Hinds, Prime Minister as vines. “There is potential to develop products that originate from the forests and we are also very interested in plans for a new coastal port located in northern Brazil,” he says. Guyana, which in 2008 imported U.S.-manufactured goods worth U.S.$288.6 million and exported items to the U.S. valued at Building up ICT infrastructure U.S.$146 million, has significant gold and bauxite reserves and offers As a new decade gets under way, Guyana is building on its strong FDI openings in forestry, agriculture, and textile activities. foundations and fiscal growth by investing significant sums in physical Among the country’s enviable portfolio of competitive advantages infrastructure, such as new roads and utilities networks that include are an educated and highly literate workforce that has helped Guyana modern electricity transmission and distribution installations. establish itself as an international call-center hub despite the challenges Driving innovation and investment in the fast-moving Informatoin posed by many graduates leaving for jobs overseas. and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is Guyana Telephone President Bharrat Jagdeo’s government has created a positive and Telegraph Co. Ltd. (GT&T). The company provides a wide investment climate in which domestic and foreign investors enjoy range of communications services that will be enhanced later this greater transparency and are encouraged to develop their enterprises through a range of attractive incentives. Investment perks include a flat business tax rate, full repatriation of profits, tax holidays, export tax allowances, and waivers of customs duties. Such incentives, together with strong political and social stability, have helped generate steady economic growth, with official Count on us for government statistics showing a 2.5% climb in GDP for 2009 over the best investment the previous year. This better-than-expected growth was particularly in Guyana impressive given it occurred during the global economic downturn Tel: 592-265-2367, 592-265-2796 that affected vital North American export markets and impacted on Fax: 592-265-7353 tourism numbers from that region. www.macorpcat.com According to Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, this solid performance ith a strategic location on South America’s north coast, between the industrial powerhouses of Brazil and Venezuela, Guyana boasts a vast range of untapped natural resources and a pro-business government that is looking to integrate its traditional industries, such as mining and sugar, with new, value-added sectors. South America’s only English-speaking country, Guyana enjoys close political and trade relations with the United States and Canada, and is the continent’s only Caricom member, apart from Suriname. As Guyana’s most important export and import partner, the U.S. is in pole position to take advantage of the many foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities that exist there.

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION year when a state-of-the-art fiber optic backbone commences operations. The new network means GT&T will have invested more than U.S.$300 million since 1990 in Guyana’s ICT infrastructure as it looks to reinforce its market-leading position amid growing competition from foreign rivals. GT&T CEO and general manager, Joseph Singh, a retired major general, says: “We have approximately 134,000 landline customers and seamless coverage along the coast and in certain parts of the interior with our cellular services. Our infrastructure is a platform for Guyana’s economic development and we are helping to improve the quality of life in communities, while our technology also aids the development of the public and private sectors.” Focusing on environmental solutions Although health, education and housing are important government priorities, climate change is one hurdle the country is currently addressing through a Low Carbon Development Strategy. With much of the country located below sea level, this is crucial in securing Guyana’s future. President Jagdeo, who mingled with other world leaders and leading environmentalists at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen late last year, says the low carbon program will make his country more resilient through better flood control and water management. He highlighted the risk posed by global warming during his New Year address to Guyana’s 800,000 citizens. “Our Low Carbon Development Strategy provides a necessary framework for us to continue to adapt to climate change without compromising our quest for accelerated transformative development,”

he said. “It will also allow us to take full advantage of the opportunity to earn from preserving and trading forest carbons—a hitherto unrecognized resource—and deploy those earnings in transformative economic and social projects that will bring substantial benefits to our people. Guyana has laid the groundwork for these financial flows and an agreement with Norway will see us earn up to U.S.$250 million over the next five years through performance-based payments.” While those forest carbon revenues will undoubtedly give a valuable boost to the country’s GDP, the mining industry is sure to remain a key source of employment and producer of substantial foreign exchange earnings. Helping the sector maximize its huge potential is Machinery Corporation of Guyana Ltd. (MACORP). Founded in 1994, the company is Guyana’s only authorized dealer of Caterpillar tractor machine products and a pioneer in maintenance practices. The market-leading enterprise, which has an outlet in the Guyanese capital Georgetown as well as the city of Bartica, also provides heavy machinery to the forestry, agriculture, construction and industrial sectors. “Guyana is a country where there are opportunities to grow and we support industry here in many ways, including financing, the delivery of quality high-tech equipment and ensuring this equipment has the lowest possible impact on nature and the environment,” says Jorge Medina, MACORP CEO. “We are here to stay in Guyana. Our vision is to create the link to provide equipment, service and maintenance for mining, agriculture, construction and road construction, power generation, and land transportation.” by Business Focus www.businessfocus.org.uk

“World’s Best Rum” producer mixes up the perfect blend of quality and innovation Enjoying a history as rich as its award-winning El Dorado Rums, Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL) is Guyana’s most international company. From the East Bank of the river that takes its name from the world-famous county of Demerara, DDL’s delicious range of beverages are distilled, aged, blended, bottled and distributed to all corners of the globe. DDL is the largest supplier of bulk rums and other spirits from the Caribbean to brand owners in Europe and North America. Part of DDL’s success to date must be attributed to its commitment to quality; the standards and processes of the 300-year-old industry have been maintained, working in tandem with the most up-to-date facilities and equipment, allowing El Dorado to be voted the “Best Rum in the World” by the International Wine and Spirit Competition for seven years. A green revolution is now under way as the company installs a bio-methanization plant to treat and dispose of the distillery’s waste water. “This new process will not only reduce the need for burning fossil fuels—and therefore lower the amount of greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere—it will also lower our dependence on fossil fuels

with their attendant price and supply volatilities,” says executive chairman and president, Yesu Persaud. In a move to take efficiency and competitiveness to another level, the company has also invested in two new distillation plants. “The expected improvement in distillation efficiency will benefit DDL from more efficient use of raw materials, hence a lower unit cost of production,” Persaud comments, pointing to how the new stills will replace some existing ones, thereby lowering energy and overhead costs. Over the past decade, Demerara Distillers Ltd. has been engaged in an aggressive expansion and diversification program. It now operates a huge shipping and distribution network, cash 15-year-old Rum El Dorado, “The best rum in the world.”

and carry stores, and the most modern Tetra Pak plant in the Caribbean. It also produces a range of juices made from local fruits, and holds the national license for Pepsi products. With subsidiaries in the U.S. and Holland, a bottling plant in St. Kitts and associated companies in Jamaica and India, global penetration cannot be far away.

Demerara Distillers Ltd. Plantation Diamond, Eastbank Demerara, Georgetown, Guyana Tel: +592-265-5019 / 6000 | Fax: +592-265-3367 / 2015 | ddlweb@demrum.com | www.demrum.com www.businessfocus.org.uk


Guyana Report 2010