Despite major oil discoveries the World Bank still ranks Guyana among the poorest in South America

Guyana’s multiple major oil discoveries that began in May 2015 may have set the country on the path towards realizing an unprecedented level of wealth in the Caribbean, but a recent World Bank Review still considers the country is “one of the poorest in South America. ”

The Bank’s Guyana Country Review, last updated on September 3 this year also notes that “the country has the” highest migration rate in the world “with 80% of citizens with tertiary education leaving and more than 55% of ‘ for citizens living abroad. These considerations, among others, says the Bank, place Guyana “among the largest recipients of GDP-related payments in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

According to the review, recent rises in operational cases of COVID-19 and deaths are a cause for concern in a country that, it says, faces “many challenges of closing borders and falling commodity prices during the pandemic,” along with its dependency continued drum “on exports of gold, bauxite and agricultural products.”

And according to the World Bank Review, having become “one of the 20 largest oil and gas reserves in the world,” if the country is to properly manage the expected resource windfall, it will need to “improve quality and the capacity of public and private organizations; making revenue collection and management more efficient and transparent; and adopting sound macroeconomic and fiscal management policies. ”

The World Bank notes in its recently updated Country Review that it is important that, as the government begins to develop the oil and gas sector, it ensures that there are “governance mechanisms that adhere to environmental and social standards internationalism, ”is an achievement that, he says,“ is essential to avoid many of the issues that resource-rich countries have faced. ”

According to the updated Review, the current World Bank project portfolio in Guyana equates to US $ 61 million across five projects in the fields of education, energy and abstractions, flood risk management, and the financial sector. These projects, he said, “contribute to Guyana’s efforts to improve resilience to natural disasters, improve the quality of education and skills, and support private sector development initiatives, particularly by focusing on improving the business environment and developing financial sector, all identified as priorities. through extensive consultations. ”

The Review states that human development has been a long-term focus in the Bank’s support for Guyana. It highlights a previous project implemented here that focused on “early childhood services” which, he said, “helped raise literacy and numeracy rates among young learners, as well as a school feeding project that helped increase enrollment. ”

Meanwhile, the Country Review refers to “two ongoing projects in the education sector” which, he says, are aimed at building the country’s skilled workforce in the future. According to the Bank, the Education Sector Improvement Project targets improving math education and the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Guyana while the Secondary Education Improvement Project is also aimed at strengthening maths teaching skills and increasing enrollment in secondary schools.

The Report also refers to the role of the World Bank, through the Guyana Petroleum Resource Governance and Management Project in seeking to support the development of “improved legal and institutional frameworks” and “boosting the ability of key institutions to manage the oil and gas sector to ensure maximum economic and social benefits to Guyana. ”The Governance and Management Project states,“ it provides a range of technical, consultative and capability measures to improve governance and transparency as well as prudent management of the oil and gas sector and its revenues. ”The components of the Project are include “strengthening institutions, laws and regulations – including on health, safety and environmental protection – and promoting strong checks and balances in the process. It will also support the country’s Environmental Protection Agency in overseeing the activities of the petroleum sector to reduce environmental, social and climate-related risks ”, says the Review.

At the same time, the Governance and Management Project is also supporting Guyana’s efforts to mitigate climate change by “advising on drafting and enforcing legislation and regulations that regularly prohibit associated gas flares in petroleum production, and adopting the No Regular Flame Initiative. ” The project, the Bank adds, will also support government efforts to “improve social accountability through information campaigns and citizen engagement.”

“Through the Flood Risk Management Project, civil works are underway to improve drainage, upgrade essential sections of East Demerara dams and Water Protection channels, and improve hydro-meteorological monitoring.”

The World Bank is also participating, through the Guyana Payment System Project, in seeking to make the national payments system “safer, more modern, and more efficient,” the Bank said, adding that Guyana Bank will benefit from being able to incremental to action. the country’s core payments infrastructure.