Despite rich natural resources, Guyana is one
of the western hemisphere's poorest and most indebted
countries. However, new found oil riches are expected to
lead to a rapid economic upswing starting in 2020.
Large oil resources have been found in rounds since
2015 and in early 2020 the country sold its first oil.
It is expected to yield an almost immediate dividend in
strongly strengthened growth (see further Current
Major imports by Guyana, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
So far, the country has been characterized by a
number of problems, such as poorly developed
infrastructure, oversized bureaucracy, a constant
outflow of educated labor and recurring outbreaks of
gang-related crime. The informal sector is estimated to
correspond to at least one third of GDP.
Exports have been dominated by a few commodities,
mainly sugar and minerals, which has made the economy
vulnerable to the weather and to price fluctuations in
the world's commodity markets.
During the 1970s, large parts of the business
community were nationalized. After severe financial
mismanagement, a breakdown was near in the mid-1980s.
Society was almost silent, the most elementary goods
existed only in the illegal market and real wages fell
International pressure, and an urgent necessity,
contributed to a radical shift in policy in the market
economy direction from 1987. The state's role in the
economy was greatly reduced and foreign investment was
encouraged. Most price controls were abolished and the
tax system reformed.
Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including GUY which represents the country of Guyana.
During most of the 1990s, economic growth averaged 7
percent per year, and by 1995 inflation had dropped to a
single-digit level. From about 1997 until the middle of
the 1990s, the development slowed down, when the basic
fragility of the economy was reminded and political
concerns frightened investors. Floods in 2005 also
caused serious damage to crops and infrastructure.
However, over the next two years, growth exceeded 5
percent per year and Guyana did quite well through the
global financial crisis of 2008.
The state budget has been drawn with large deficits
covered by aid and loans. In order to increase and
streamline tax revenue, in 2007 a complicated tax system
was replaced by a general VAT on goods.
Guyana has also previously been assisted with debt
relief. Government debt fell dramatically from more than
120 percent of GDP after the turn of the millennium to
around 60 percent in 2007 and has subsequently dropped
to 50 percent. The external debt was estimated at
around 35 percent of GDP in 2017 and still represents a
burden for the country that is dependent on aid.
An important source of foreign capital is money that
working Guyanans in other countries send home to their
families. In 2010, the remittances accounted for between
just over 7 and just over 16 percent of GDP.
Guyana has been a member of the Caribbean, Caricom's
common market for goods, services, people and capital (CSME)
In the autumn of 2008, Caricom signed an economic
partnership agreement with the EU (EPA), called
Cariforum. This means that the Caribbean countries do
not have to pay customs duties and other restrictions on
virtually all exports to the EU countries. In return,
they will gradually phase out tariffs on 87 percent of
EU imports until 2033.
FACTS - FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 4,635 (2018)
US $ 3,610 million (2018)
3.4 percent (2018)
Agriculture's share of GDP
15.4 percent (2017)
Manufacturing industry's share of GDP
3.1 percent (2017)
The service sector's share of GDP
42.0 percent (2017)
2.1 percent (2019)
Government debt's share of GDP
52.9 percent (2018)
US $ 1,589 million (2017)
US $ 1,443 million (2016)
US $ 1,341 million (2016)
US $ 128 million (2016)
Commodity trade's share of GDP
88 percent (2018)
Main export goods
gold, bauxite, rice, shrimp and fish, sugar
Largest trading partner
USA, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, China, UK