International Energy Conference a platform to create new development momentum – President Ali

His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali said that the International Energy Conference and Expo Guyana 2022 will see the creation of a new development momentum based on partnership, coordination and cooperation.

In a keynote address at today’s opening ceremony at the Marriott Hotel, the Guyanese leader announced that his country is open for business and that opportunities are available for both regional and international investors.

His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali

He said that the event was necessary to share ideas and to move forward with similar goals.   

He specifically lauded the presence of the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo; Prime Minister of the Republic of Barbados, the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley and the President of the Republic of Suriname, His Excellency Chandrikapersad Santokhi, who all took to the podium.

President Ali echoed the sentiments expressed by the Barbadian Prime Minister in her remarks, where she challenged the participants to chart a different course and to start a new regional movement.

“Prime Minister Mottley made the point, shall we today start a movement that is different? A movement among ourselves to promote our ideals and our ideas… it is occasions like these that we can seize that moment and create new momentum.”

The President pointed to the collaborations already underway with Suriname, Ghana and Barbados in several areas and through numerous initiatives, including the removal of barriers to enhance the movement of goods and people.

The development trajectory of Guyana, according to President Ali, is being recalibrated towards increasing natural wealth building, creating economic resilience, expanding opportunities relating to the economy, enhancing social services and investing in Guyanese.

“The wealth from oil and gas will be used to achieve these objectives and broaden the economic platform that drives the current and future growth of our country. In this regard – agriculture, mining, forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, information communication technology, manufacturing, tourism, education and health services are key sectors of focus.”

As the country develops, it will reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. “We have committed to reducing our dependency on fossil fuels by 70% by the year 2027 and 90% by the year 2030. We are not shying away from our global responsibility.”

The Head of State said that Guyana is a leader in the global community on climate change, ecosystems and biodiversity and pointed to bountiful flora and fauna and our standing forest, some 18.3 million hectares which cover 87% of the country’s land area.   

The forest is storing approximately 19.5 gigatons of carbon worth about $US195b.  

Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy was also highlighted as key to the country’s future development plans, and renewable energy projects as pivotal to decreasing the cost of energy for the benefits of ordinary Guyana and the business community.

The President also highlighted that his Government intends to invest in strengthening the country’s competitiveness in existing sectors while creating an environment for new and emerging sectors.

To achieve this, the Government is investing heavily in its human capacity with a focus on educational enhancement and training opportunities.

It was explained that Guyana’s geographical position and cultural disposition allow it to advance partnerships with the Caribbean, South America and Africa.

The President charged investors to take advantage of the country’s open-door policy.

“We welcome every single investor, be it Exxon, be it the international investors, Hess, every single stakeholder whether your regional, international, we welcome you, but all we are saying is that that space for technological transformation, collaboration, local growth, and competitive and increased productivity must be built into the system to bring benefit to the people of the country.”’

He also outlined many megaprojects underway and pointed to the benefits of the investments that are geared towards boosting productivity, improving connections with communities and people, catalysing the opportunities and ultimately generating tens of thousands of jobs that are sustainable.

“The opportunities in shore-based facilities, deep-water Harbour, a road link to Brazil, connecting Guyana and Suriname by bridging the Corentyne River are all actively being pursued through a partnership between countries and the private sector.”

The four-day conference continues tomorrow with Vice President, the Honourable Dr Bharrat Jagdeo speaking about Guyana approach for a sustainable future and Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Vickram Bharrat speaking about energy corridor and cross-border oil field development and services.