The Senior Minister for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, earlier this morning attended and addressed a Ministerial Conclave on Human Capital convened by the World Bank Group as part of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group’s Spring 2021 Meetings that are being held more or less at this time.
The Conclave was held under the theme ‘Investing in Human Capital for Green, Durable and Inclusive Recovery’.
Minister Singh spoke on the topic of promoting economic opportunities while ensuring environmental and fiscal sustainability. His talk focused on the country’s forthcoming Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) which will set out a comprehensive development agenda for the country along a low carbon trajectory. It also focused on the high priority given by the Guyana Government on various initiatives to promote human capital development.
In his address, the Minister highlighted Guyana’s bright economic prospects as well as the country’s weaknesses and development challenges, emphasizing that Guyana is rich in natural resources, including oil, minerals, and forests that cover 85 percent of the country’s territory. country making its current economic outlook. very promising despite COVID-19 and domestic political issues which caused a sharp decline in GDP other than oil in 2020.
He reminded that even with the many challenges, Guyana is the fastest growing economy in the world as a result of oil production, and will remain among the fastest growing economies in the next few years. “But we also face extreme vulnerabilities to climate change, as well as significant development challenges. We are well aware of the scale of these challenges. They include avoiding the resource curse, promoting a strong and competitive non-oil economy, addressing our infrastructure gap, and improving human development outcomes, ”added Dr. Singh.
On the issue of environmental sustainability, Minister Singh highlighted the role of the original LCDS as well as the soon to be expanded LCDS. He said Guyana’s “commitment to low carbon or green growth is long-standing. In 2008, we published what we believe was the first low carbon development strategy for a developing country. The LCDS reflected that Guyana is at the intersection of many different aspects of climate challenge. On the one hand, our low coastline means we are deeply affected by climate change. ”
The Senior Minister for Finance then went on to highlight examples of some of the impact on the country as a result of climate change. “In 2005, flooding caused economic damage equivalent to 60 per cent of GDP. On the other hand, our forests make a very significant contribution to the global fight against climate change. The LCDS paved the way for us to join Norway in 2009 in the world’s third largest international forest partnership where the climate services provided by our forests were paid for the first time – ensuring a US $ 250 million payment on performance basis for climate services available. to fund climate-friendly investments. ”He further requested that the Government is now preparing an expanded LCDS that will build on the original LCDS and outline a comprehensive low carbon development agenda for Guyana.
Minister Singh assured the Officials that the Government placed the highest importance on investing in human capital development as it expanded its emphasis on education. He explained that “despite the many competing demands on our limited financial resources, we are investing heavily in the social sector – education, health, etc. – as well as in facilitative infrastructure such as information and communications technology. For example, in education, we invest heavily in early childhood education, general primary and secondary education, improving access to tertiary education and quality, strengthening technical and vocational education, improving learning outcomes at all levels, and securing lifelong learning – supported with the use of information and communications technology based on lessons learned during COVID-19 – and all aimed at improving productivity and productivity as well as the well-being of individuals and households. “
He added “on many of these initiatives we are collaborating with the Bank, and we expect the education sector to dominate our portfolio of projects with the Bank in the next programming round … this will be in line with our emphasis on the development of both human capital. as an input to, and outcome of sustainable economic growth. ”
In concluding his presentation, the Minister reiterated that his Government considered the development of human capital “as an essential prerequisite for economic growth and an essential objective for it”.
At this morning’s Human Capital Conclave, David Malpass, World Bank Group President, took in other senior executives of the Bank, along with several Finance Ministers from around the world.