By Navendra Seoraj
THERE has been a marked increase in the number of Brazilian investors who are showing interest in Guyana.
“I have been there for three and a half years and there has been a marked improvement with regards to interest being shown in Guyana as it regards to investing,” said Consul-General of Guyana to Brazil, Shirley Melville, in an invited comment on Saturday.
The increase was justified by the number of meetings between the consulate and investors from Brazil. Melville said over the years, she has interacted with investors from Northern Brazil and Sao Paulo.
“Most of these investors are interested in infrastructure but there is also interest in the agriculture, renewable energy and tourism sectors,” said the consul- general.
Although, in some cases, investors have been flowing in on their own, the consul- general has been doing her bit to make Guyana visible.
She said the consulate has a “great” working relationship with the government in Boa Vista and has been working within the investment, tourism, health, and agriculture sectors and on social committees.
The consulate, through the cooperation with the Brazilian government, has also been transferring skills between the two countries and making business arrangements.
The relationship between Guyana and Brazil has been growing over the years. It was recently reported that the days of having to carefully navigate through a deplorable Linden-to-Lethem trail are almost over, as government had confirmed that there will be a paved road from Guyana to Brazil.
“The final mission from the United Kingdom (UK) Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF) programme was here and we have decided that there will be paved road between Guyana and Brazil,” said Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, in a recent report.
Guyana had secured funding from the British Government through its UKCIF programme to complete the design of the road.
“We have long cherished a usable land link between Guyana and Brazil because we see business opportunities,” said Patterson.
Phase one of the project covers approximately 125 kilometres of the road (Linden to Mabura Hill) and includes a bridge across the Kurupukari River.
The journey from Lethem to Georgetown takes as many as 13 hours depending on the state of the road. It recently became impassable. Once paved, the projection is that the trip will take no more than five hours.
With an improvement in transportation and business, relations between the two countries are expected to grow.
Guyana has already seen a rapid growth in foreign interests and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) since 2015 and the FDI is expected to grow further, reaching a record US$1.2 billion by the end of this year. This was according to Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, in a past report.
According to a report by the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), while FDI flows to Latin America and the Caribbean contracted for the third year in a row in 2017, to US$161.6B, a decline of 3.6 per cent relative to 2016 and 20 per cent less than in 2011, Guyana’s FDI flows had recorded a positive, upward trend.
Minister Jordan, who made reference to the report, added that from a low of US$58M, in 2016, FDI flows almost quadrupled, in 2017, to US$212M. These flows have continued this trend, rising to US$826.4M by the first half of 2019, compared to US$514.8M for a similar period in 2018.
“Expectedly, FDI flows have concentrated on the extractive sector, in particular gold and bauxite mining and latterly, petroleum exploration. However, as the ECLAC report noted, FDI grew in all sectors, except in manufacturing,” said the minister.
In keeping with the policy to diversify the economic base of the country, in order to avoid heavy dependence on the oil and gas sector, the government, through an attractive mix of policies and reforms, is positioning the country to take advantage of the international interest in the recently-discovered oil reserves, in order to promote other sectors, such as agriculture and tourism.
(Sourced from http://guyanachronicle.com/ 6-11-2019)
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