January 12, 2024
Transforming Guyana Webinar Explores Guyana’s Journey to Becoming a Top Choice for Investors
The Guyana Business Journal (GBJ) and the Caribbean Policy Consortium recently hosted Season II, Episode VIII of their Transforming Guyana webinar series. The episode “Guyana’s Journey to Becoming a Top Choice for Investors” featured insightful discussions from industry experts.
Guyana, a nation on the cusp of transformative change, finds itself at a crossroads, with a burgeoning oil and gas sector reshaping its economic landscape. Yet, as David Lewis, Vice President of Manchester Trade Ltd. Inc., rightly points out, the future prosperity of Guyana relies on a broader perspective. To truly prepare for growth, Guyana must diversify its investment climate beyond oil and gas, creating opportunities in various sectors.
Terrence Blackman, Founder of the Guyana Business Journal, stresses the importance of partnership in engaging the diaspora and attracting investors. It is crucial to shift from a conflictual approach to one that fosters collaboration and mutual benefit.
The head of the Diaspora Unit, Rosalinda Rasul, emphasizes the need to harness skills from both within and beyond Guyana’s borders. Engaging the diaspora to fill skill gaps and energize the country is a strategic move towards sustainable development.
Joel Bhagwandin underscores the significance of addressing the skills deficit and mismatch, recognizing that Guyana’s rapid development requires a skilled workforce capable of meeting international standards.
Stacey Mollison, President/CEO of Libra Management Group, highlights the importance of engaging the younger generation and tapping into their innovation and unique perspectives.
Finally, Patricia Francis calls attention to the need for improved governance and institutional clarity to create a conducive environment for business growth.
Guyana is on the precipice of tremendous growth, with immense economic diversification and development potential. However, the journey is fraught with challenges that require cooperation, skill development, and a clear regulatory framework. The nation’s ability to overcome these obstacles will determine its success in building a resilient and prosperous future beyond oil and gas.
The Transforming Guyana webinar series provides valuable insights into the development of Guyana’s oil and gas industry, focusing on safety, sustainability, and responsible practices.
For access to the full webinar episode, please visit:
- Rosalinda Rasul, Head of Diaspora Unit Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Guyana
- Joel Bhagwandin, Director, SphereX Professional Services | Commissioner, Public Procurement Commission, Guyana
- Stacey Mollison, President/CEO Libra Management Group
- Patricia Francis, Chairperson of Trade Facilitation Task Force and former Executive Director ITC
- David Lewis, Vice President, Manchester Trade Ltd. Inc. & Co-Chair, Caribbean Policy Consortium
- Terrence Blackman, Founder, Guyana Business Journal
David Lewis, Vice President, Manchester Trade Ltd. Inc. & Co-Chair, Caribbean Policy Consortium
- “We need to start looking at the investment climate and economy in Guyana, to a certain degree, beyond oil and gas…and the fact of really preparing the country for growth in a variety of sectors.”
- “The problem with setting up business and setting up financing and bank accounts in Guyana remains extraordinary. We are beginning to see it as a disincentive, particularly for small companies and for the Diaspora coming in trying to set that up as a key requirement to be a bonafide business there.”
- “This is work in progress. You’re building a brand-new country, from where it was before.”
Terrence Blackman, Founder, Guyana Business Journal
- “Many observers can find places for criticism, but if you take this view of what’s happening in Guyana in the broad sense, these macroeconomic fundamentals seem to be in place to make it a very attractive destination.”
- “We are often – in our approach to this business of Diaspora engagement, the business of investor relations with Guyana – prone to a kind of conflictual relationship. If we aim for partnership, then this is not an unreasonable way to pursue this.”
Rosalinda Rasul, Head of Diaspora Unit Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Guyana
- “When you talk about Guyana having a very small population and then it’s taking off at a massive growth rate, you will need a lot of skills. We can choose to run after projects or initiatives that is not exactly what would have a great impact on the country, or we can choose to engage the Diaspora in a way that will really help to reenergize the country and take it where it needs to go.”
- “In 2023, we started a conversation at the national level with private sector and public sector stakeholders on the shortages of skills in the country…that ended with the commitment to form a manpower unit which will be managed by the Ministry of Labor that will look into the shortages and labor needs of the country.”
- “All of these companies are coming to the [Diaspora] Unit basically to say that ‘We have positions. There are some that we can’t find the skills in Guyana, we would like to utilize the services of the Unit to reach into the global Diaspora.’”
Joel Bhagwandin, Director, SphereX Professional Services | Commissioner, Public Procurement Commission, Guyana
- “International investors are always concerned primarily with political risks in the market in which they are contemplating to invest. Now, we are not only looking at geopolitical risk at a domestic level, but broad geopolitical developments.”
- “Our development journey that is being ramped up, that is being accelerated at a very rapid pace today, it started three decades ago. It started at a time where we had tremendous economic and political challenges. There was a time when we were a bankrupt economy.”
- “The main challenge as of now, in terms of investors and the private sector, is the skills deficit that we have, and it is a two-fold challenge. One, we have a skills deficit, a shortage of skills we need in all the sectors. Two, we have a skills mismatch, meaning that we have people actively looking for work, but of the jobs that are available, they don’t have the skills and competencies to match that.”
Stacey Mollison, President/CEO Libra Management Group
- “Our goal is to continue to engage people. Now we’re looking at not just the Guyanese Diaspora, but how do we continue to build and grow this. You start with awareness, you come in-country, you connect with the stakeholders and then you help those people who are serious about engagement.”
- “It’s not just about our contemporaries, but we have to engage the young people because they bring innovation and ideas and a whole way of viewing coming into Guyana as second generation…I don’t think we do a good enough job of engaging the Millennial and Gen X population.”
Patricia Francis, Chairperson of Trade Facilitation Task Force and former Executive Director ITC
- “The IMF has just come out with their report on Guyana and are indicating that they should probably have growth of about 26.6% this year…Of that, they are seeing that about 6.6% will be from the non-oil and gas domestic sector.”
- “Guyana has not really been doing very well when you look at the indicators by the World Bank, looking at the business environment. There seem to be still confusion with respect to multiple ministries that are overlapping in terms of regulatory responsibilities, and investors report they receive confusing messages from various officials. Clarifying this and the whole business of building institutions is critical and important.”
Terrence Blackman, Ph.D., Founder & CEO Guyana Business Journal email@example.com