President Ali calls for Guyana’s ‘unique taste’ to be highlighted on global level
–as Starbucks flagship location officially launched
President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has urged the Starbucks Guyana team, through collaboration with the local private sector, to work towards highlighting Guyana’s unique products on a global level.
The head of state was speaking at the grand opening of Starbucks’ flagship location at the Amazonia Mall, Providence, East Bank Demerara.
Starbucks is known around the world for its coffeehouses, which offer a wide array of coffee beverages, snacks, and pastries; as well as its dedication to sustainability and customer-focused business approach.
President Ali noted that while Guyanese will benefit from the introduction of the brand here, the brand could stand to benefit from aspects of Guyana’s culture.
“Guyana is known to be very unique. It is a market that Starbucks will soon realise is separate and apart from any other market globally. We are known to be the best in what we do. We are known to be in niche markets. We are known to separate ourselves based on our own appreciation of what we offer,” Dr Ali boasted.
He said while much of the world is enchanted with coffee, the likes of Arabica, Ethiopian coffee, Colombian coffee and otherwise, Guyana is home to a rare, fruity and floral type of coffee that is smoky in taste.
“Grown in the Pomeroon, niche, unique, and set aside from all others. Classic, only for the best of coffee drinkers and markets. I welcome you, then, Starbucks, to the land of Liberica, and I hope that in your brand, this unique coffee will be sold, and this unique coffee will be grown in commercial scale. With your support, this coffee that only one per cent of the coffee market can enjoy because of its rareness, can be shared with the rest of the world, from Guyana. This is a project that I would challenge Starbucks Guyana to work with us on,” Dr Ali shared.
He expressed hope that expatriates would be able to experience the ‘one per cent rarity’ in Guyana through Starbucks, noting that the introduction of Guyana’s coffee would enable the franchise to set itself apart in the world market.
Signal of unique investment opportunities
Meanwhile, Dr Ali noted that the introduction of the global coffee franchise has once again demonstrated the country’s potential as a booming market of opportunities.
Starbucks is not the only global brand that has recently taken interest in the country, with a number of food, energy, and other companies bringing their services to one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
“The recognition from a global brand shows that not being part of this market is not being part of the action, not being part of the forward trajectory that various investors are following. And that is a very important message. Starbucks doesn’t just pick itself up and go to just any market. They follow the development of countries. They follow the requirements of the market. And I’m sure that they would understand that the nature of the consumer coming into Guyana is also changing rapidly.”
He noted that the Starbucks location at the Amazonia Mall puts it in a prime location to benefit from the economic activities taking place in the area.
The café is located in close proximity to the Guyana National Stadium, and massive housing areas where a number of expatriates reside and persons working in the rapidly expanding oil and gas sector.
President Ali said the area is also representative of the network of infrastructure that the government is building to create a more efficient connection system to bring communities and people closer.
“Vision and action are not guesswork. It is not work by accident. It is work structured and targeted to the achievement of particular results. And I am sure that as Guyana becomes a stronger and stronger economy, many more global brands will be here. And I’m sure that many North American brands will be here, but the brands that are coming must be able to incorporate our local private sector, and be able to engage our local private sector. That is what is going to make the brand resilient, successful and sustainable,”Dr. Ali expressed.
Meanwhile, President Ali highlighted the unique partnership that exists between Guyana and Trinidad, especially in areas of business and trade. The two countries have enjoyed a longstanding partnership that has seen Guyana benefitting from opportunities made possible through Trinidadian brands purchasing the rights to certain franchises.
“That is something I admire about this partnership. Sometime last year, I met two regional partners from Trinidad and Guyana, coming together to bring the brand here. Our phase of development… arguably is way behind what took place in Trinidad. As a result, Prestige [Holdings] and other companies in Trinidad were able to buy off the franchises for most global brands for Guyana, Suriname, and many countries in the region,” the president expressed.
He urged the local private sector not to view the purchase of large franchises by Trinidad and the integration of such brands into the country as competition, but rather as an opportunity for partnership and a push to improve local standards.
“We have to improve. We have to get better. We have to make our own brand and our own system more efficient. That is what is key… global brands have a tendency of pushing local brands to up their game, and their standards. This is what will help us to develop world-class products and standards, just like our coffee. So, I see this as an important investment for the services industry, a greater vote of confidence in Guyana, the economy, and where we’re going.”
The president also encouraged Starbucks to include Guyana’s ‘second-to-none’ pastries and snacks in its menu.