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Guyana on Track to Become South America’s Wealthiest Nation

DUE to its newly founded oil wealth, Guyana is receiving a lot of attention, both regionally and internationally, but the question that is on everyone’s mind is whether or not this is the beginning of the end for the country or the initiation of a brighter future for the people.

“After the discovery of massive offshore oil fields, the small South American nation is now positioned to become one of the world’s wealthiest,” were the sentiments expressed by an anchor, Andrea Sanke on the well-known programme, Newsmakers.

Noting that Guyana has now become the fourth largest oil producer in the world, the anchor made note of the fact that although the country has less than a million people, many are living below the poverty line.

“Less than a million people live in Guyana, many of them below the poverty line, but that could all change very soon,” she said.

Highlighting President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s commitment to using a low-carbon development strategy to prevent the Dutch Disease from touching Guyana’s shore, Sanke remarked that with the massive amounts of oil and gas revenue, the government has invested it into constructing massive infrastructural projects that will benefit the people. These include scores of schools, 12 hospitals, a $1.9B gas-to-energy-project and two main highways.

Underscoring the inevitable cost-of-living rise, which many Guyanese are unable to cope with, she highlighted the fact that a number of Guyanese are becoming gainfully employed by the massive oil giant, ExxonMobil.

However, despite it being a positive, Sanke said that some Guyanese are wishing for an increase in the employment rate for locals.

One Guyanese oil worker, Ron Proft, said in a brief snippet: “[I] got this opportunity to learn something new and gain some more money… and look at me one year after, I’m enjoying it,” adding that he even attained a promotion.

Outside of an oil worker’s point of view, a woodcutter, Michael (only name given), said he hopes that the government will do what it takes to secure Guyana’s future.

Speaking on those who believe that Guyana lacks the legal and physical framework to utilise the oil wealth properly, Sanke said, this could be debunked with good management.

She stated: “Within the next few years, Guyana could become the richest nation in South America.”


Moreover, Sanke brought a panel of persons to analyze the state of Guyana. Arthur Deakin, Director of the Energy Practice at AMI, acknowledged the works being done by the government within their brief tenure in office and said that because of this, one can see that Guyana has a fruitful future,

According to him: “What the government has done in the past five or so years has been very fruitful in terms of bringing in investments from Exxon and its consortium,” adding that, “It’s one of the fastest development rates we’ve ever seen.”

He also said that the distribution of the wealth to the people, is not something that happens overnight, Deakin affirmed that it takes structural planning and time.

He further related that Guyana’s Local Content Legislation is quite stringent, and it prevents foreign companies from taking advantage of the local industries. It also ensures that companies operating in the country hire a certain percentage of local workers and use a certain percentage of local goods and services.