More Dubai investors turn to Guyana
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President Dr. Irfaan Ali (third right) and his team of ministers meeting with His Highness, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum (fourth left) and his delegation from the UAE at the Office of the President in November 2020 (Office of the President photo)
President Dr. Irfaan Ali (third right) and his team of ministers meeting with His Highness, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum (fourth left) and his delegation from the UAE at the Office of the President in November 2020 (Office of the President photo)

–discuss opportunities in rice, poultry and other agricultural areas

GUYANA’S diversified economy continues to serve as a magnet for both local and foreign investors, with stakeholders from the Middle East being the latest of the lot to shift their attention to this nation, which lies on the edge of South America, and is connected culturally to the Caribbean.
An investment team from Dubai, one of the wealthiest cities in the world, visited Guyana last week to discuss a wide range of opportunities, particularly those in the agricultural sector, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha has said.

The team’s trip follows a visit to Guyana by an eight-member delegation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in November 2020. The delegation, led by his Highness Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of Dubai, met with President Dr. Irfaan Ali and senior government officials, and held discussions on oil and gas; infrastructure and agriculture.
It was reported that individual members of the eight-member delegation were interested in specific sectors, but this newspaper understands that the “key sectors” took “centre stage”.
Similarly, during the recent trip by private investors, the agricultural sector, which accounts for one-third of Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was the main area of focus.
“I had a meeting with a group from Dubai [the private investors], and I submitted information on rice, poultry and other areas within the sector,” Minister Mustapha said during an exclusive interview with the Guyana Chronicle.

Investors who were part of the initial eight-member team, had also signalled a strong interest in investing in agriculture, particularly sugar and livestock. Following this, a second team visited from Dubai and toured all of the sugar estates across the country. The team comprised of mainly experts, who had a specific task of analysing the operations and viability of these estates.
“I had a chat with them after their visit to the estates, and they seemed very interested… Remember, they are technical people and not policymakers, so whatever they observe, they have to take back to the policymakers. But they were impressed with the sugar industry in Guyana, in terms of investing and so on,” Minister Mustapha had said last December, following the visit of the second Dubai team.

Dubai is no stranger to sugar, as this State is home to the world’s largest port-based sugar refinery, Al Khaleej Sugar Co. Stakeholders from the UAE are, however, not the only investors who are interested in Guyana’s agricultural sector, Minister Mustapha told this newspaper recently, noting that a number of other international investors are knocking at Guyana’s doors.
“With what we are seeing, it is certain that we will have more investments this year… This year, we will launch transformative projects which will help Guyana to take off economically,” the minister affirmed.

It was reported in December 2020 that the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) was able to facilitate 55 potential investments valuing $276.6 billion within three months, paving the way for the creation of more than 10,000 jobs.
According to information from Go-Invest, applications were received for investments across all platforms and sectors of Guyana’s economy. A business-friendly climate, supplemented by the anticipated economic ascension is being credited for the attraction of those expressions of interest.
The aggregate investments are expected to create 9,386 direct jobs when the projects are fully completed. There will also be spin-off benefits which will reach suppliers, cottage industries, individuals and other sections of the economy.
From 2017 to 2019, the unemployment rate in Guyana increased from 12.2 per cent to 13.4 per cent, but the new administration aims to reverse this over the next five years through the creation of 50,000 jobs.

The country is moving closer to this vision, with the latest investments set to come on stream very soon. The Guyana Chronicle understands that of the 55 projects to which Go-Invest referred, 28 are local, 25 are Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), and there are two joint ventures.
The FDI agreements were predominantly within the tourism and services sectors. According to the investors’ projections, the value of the FDI projects totalled G$239 billion, while the joint ventureships totalled G$5.3 billion.

The FDI projects include the construction of world-class hotels across the country, to cater for the anticipated increase in visitors who are being attracted by the nation’s burgeoning oil and gas sector, and its spin-off benefits. The total investments in the hospitality sector value close to US$1 billion (G$215B).
Proposals have been received from major players in the hotel industry such as Sheraton, The Element, Delta Marriott, Best Western Hotels and Resorts, the H-Tower Luxury Hotel, the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, the Radisson Hotels, and the Hilton Hotels and Resorts among others.

According to a study by Oxford Economics, hotel operations and guest spending support eight million jobs across the US alone. The same study found that a typical hotel with 100 occupied rooms per night supports 230 local jobs every year. And the nation’s hotel and lodging industry brings other important benefits to local communities.
These businesses are a cornerstone for local economic activity, providing increased tax revenue, capital investment, tourism-related development and promotion, civic leadership, charitable contributions and sponsorship. These benefits are also expected to accrue to Guyana, as the country continues to function as an investment magnet.

Outside of the hospitality sector, Nexus Machining of Guyana is partnering with Louisiana’s Machine Tech Inc, while GUYSON Engineering is partnering with K + B Industry Inc. of the U.S.
On the local side, notable investments include the expansion of Royal Chicken Inc., which will be doubling its production line with state-of-the-art machinery. This investment is valued at G$531.2 million.
According to investors’ figures, the value of local investments for the period August to November is G$27.9 billion, primarily in the agriculture, tourism, services and light manufacturing sectors. Those projects are projected to create at least 1,752 jobs when fully operational.

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