10 Jan 2019
Guyana: Market Profile
- Located on the North Atlantic coast of South America, Guyana borders Venezuela to the west, Suriname to the east and Brazil to the south. The country’s geographical position and socio-political heritage put it at the gateway between South America and the Caribbean. On one hand, its Caribbean heritage enables Guyana to be part of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), while on the other, it is a South American country, neighbouring two of the most important economies on the continent – Brazil and Venezuela. This gives Guyana, the third-smallest country (after only Uruguay and Suriname) on mainland South America, easy access to more than 300 million consumers.
- Endowed with extensive savannahs and forests as well as productive agricultural land, rich mineral deposits of gold, bauxite and diamonds, abundant water resources, offshore oil and gas reserves, and an Atlantic coastline, the country offers dynamic business opportunities across many sectors of the economy. While recognised globally as a sugar and rice producer, much of its agricultural potential is yet to be tapped, especially as regards fresh and processed fruits and vegetables. Its forestry potential is just beginning to be realised, particularly in the field of value-added wood products. Its extensive network of rivers and Atlantic coastline provide ideal conditions for both seafood and aquaculture. Its pristine environment, unspoiled rainforest and exotic fauna and natural attractions (including the world’s highest single-drop waterfall, the Kaieteur Falls) make Guyana a highly attractive location for eco- and adventure tourism.
- Thanks to an extensive array of regional, bilateral and preferential agreements with trading partners such as CARICOM (which comprises 15 members and 5 associate members stretching from the Bahamas in the northern Caribbean to Guyana and Suriname in the south), Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the EU, mainland China, Turkey and Venezuela, about 75% of Guyana’s exports are eligible for duty-free entries in destination markets, with many of them remaining receiving preferential access.
- Guyana is proving attractive to investors looking to set up businesses in the services sector. This is partly due to its well-educated labour force with near-universal literacy, but also due to it being the only South American nation which has English as its official language. This is especially useful for businesses involved in the IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) markets in North America, as well as businesses conducting operations to support the activities of large corporations worldwide, and those serving English-speaking tourism markets.
- Guyana provides foreign investors with the same treatment as domestic investors. It offers an extensive menu of across-the-board investment incentives, including a flat business tax rate, tax holidays, waivers of customs duties, export tax allowances, and unrestricted repatriation of profits, as well as additional incentives in priority export sectors such as agriculture, forestry, tourism, mining, energy, manufacturing (agro-processing of sugar, rice, coconuts, timber and mineral-processing of bauxite, gold and diamonds) and services (IT, ICT and BPO). More information on the investment environment and the relevant regulations can be found at Guyana’s investment promotion agency, GO-Invest.
- The inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Guyana amounted to US$212 million in 2017. According to the mainland Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), China’s total stock (flows) of FDI in Guyana exceeded US$256 (US$6) million as of the end of 2016, up from US$69 (nil) million in 2008. Investment from Hong Kong, however, has remained minimal.
Source: Hong Kong Trade Statistics, Census & Statistics Department