GSDS to aid diversification of Guyana’s economy

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, July 18, 2019

Guyana’s economy is set to be transformed under the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) Vision 2040.

The GSDS, which focuses on development, which will provide a better quality of life for all Guyanese by harnessing the country’s natural wealth highlights green and inclusive diversification as one of its key areas of focus.

Economic diversification is the process of shifting an economy away from a single income source toward multiple sources from a growing range of sectors and markets. This falls under Goal 2 of the GSDS, supportin2g economic resilience.

This will see a “diversified and high value-add basket of economic sectors” supporting broad-based development and economic responsibility. For Guyana, this involves upgrading machinery, modernising production techniques, and moving further into processing in agricultural and extractive industries.

The strategy has guidelines which will see the development of policies that will provide a better quality of life for all Guyanese by harnessing the country’s natural wealth. There are several key priority areas which specific policy actions elaborated in the strategy:

– Resource Extraction for Sustainable Development;

– Sustainable, productive and climate-resilient agriculture;

– Green, inclusive and high value-adding service industries; and,

– Strengthening the Business Environment.

These priority areas cover topics such as the tourism industry, rice and sugar, fruits and vegetables, oil and gas among others.

Currently, agriculture and bauxite are Guyana’s main source of income, but with first oil in 2020 and recently being named the number one eco-tourism destination in the world, the country’s economy is rapidly diversifying.

The GSDS envisages that the oil and gas industry is set to become Guyana’s largest sector and will have positive spill-over across the whole economy and will be responsible for almost 70 percent of merchandise exports and half of GDP in five years.

Vision 2040’s development objective for oil and gas extraction is to ensure that natural gas production associated with oil extraction is utilised beneficially as identified by clear evidence-based assessments; transparently and consistently delivers the country’s fair share of earnings, with investments made in the domestic economy, with environmental risks minimised and controlled.

In a recent interview with the Department of Public Information, Onika Stellingburg, Department of Environment’s Stakeholder Management Coordinator stated that the department “will work with our agricultural, management and our business sectors to diversify to produce more.”

By 2040, Guyana’s core economic sectors are expected to:

– Adopt greener and safer operating practices, reducing resource use, minimizing waste and negative environmental and social impacts;

– Achieve high levels of productivity and sustainability through the adoption of advanced technology and management best practices;

– Successfully compete in regional and international markets, in part due to a reliable and efficient network of infrastructure and effective fiscal policy in line with regional comparators;

– Are supported by strong and effective institutions which ensure high compliance with regulations while facilitating market activity, reducing bureaucracy and supporting the transition to the ‘formal’ sector.

A resilient economy will use fewer resources, avoid pollution, lower carbon emissions, provide decent work opportunities and limit the impact on the environment. This is also in keeping with Sustainable Development Goal 1 – “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”. The goal is to improve the lives of all Guyanese citizens in terms of jobs and livelihoods, particularly the poor and disadvantaged.

The entire Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) document can be found on the Department of Environment’s website;