TRADE is a crucial part of an economy’s growth, whether it is local or international. It is said that time is money and if a country is subjected to poor infrastructural frameworks, there will be delays in the trading process which affects the country in making more money. For example, lack of road linkages between crucial points within a country or limited road access through a popular and frequently used point can result in road congestion and long hours of sitting in traffic, which for distribution companies for example, limits the number of sales that can be made in a day. This can be observed at the Demerara Harbour Bridge on a daily basis. Another example would include the extraction of natural resources from interior regions of the country. In the mining and forestry sectors, poor roads and access points have over the years resulted in limited activities being carried out, which affect the ability to fully maximise the resources available. The transportation and operation costs have also been expensive for these companies to be constantly maintaining and repairing their vehicles, thereby affecting their social and economic development.
Infrastructure, however, does not only include roads, bridges, and airports (referred to as hard infrastructure). It also includes soft infrastructure such as telephone lines, Internet servers and broadband access, which influence external trade. The quality of infrastructure is as important as the quantity of infrastructure available. Greater quality infrastructure results in better outcomes of efficiency and greater sustainable impacts on the economy. A country such as Guyana that seeks integration with new trading partners, whether locally or internationally, requires proper infrastructural frameworks. As also seen in the government’s Plan for National Development, due to the many business opportunities being unfolded through foreign and local investments, Guyana is on the verge of achieving drastic economic growth. Therefore, infrastructure is crucial.
A classic example of how infrastructure is a key factor to economic growth in a country is Dubai. Dubai is the second richest country of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), just behind Abu Dhabi, which is the capital state. The country has undergone several stages of transformation to achieve the level of status it has today. Its economy went from the traditional fishing practices to trading and tourism and finance. However, the country has limited oil-and-gas reserves (which contribute only five per cent to the GDP), which prompted the development of infrastructure to attract tourists and businesses for trade, especially by sea. Dubai is also known for its luxurious multi-billion real estate ventures. In 2005, Dubai City attracted 12 million tourists and was described in the Vanity Fair Magazine as the “city on crack.”
Guyana has been referred to as the next “Dubai City” and can be seen as taking examples from Dubai in its transformation. The government has countless times emphasised that the oil-and-gas sector will not be the main economic contributor to the country’s economy, though much emphasis is being placed on the sector to maximise benefits as soon as possible. The other sectors will also benefit from the spin-off effects of the oil-and-gas sectors, which prompted the development of the Local Content Policy.
Due to the oil discovery in 2015, as many have gained interest and have discovered Guyana, within the next 10 years, Guyana will be expecting a high inflow of foreigners. Therefore, the country also needs to provide amenities to provide services for these people to have a comfortable stay in Guyana, from which the economy can also benefit. Within the last year as the government took office, many hotels have been approved to be set up across the country along with new airlines have been given approval for travelling to and from Guyana. These are already preparations in place to cater for the extended benefits of the near future.
As part of the infrastructural development, housing communities will also be developed along the East Bank of Demerara along the new linkage road of Great Diamond to Eccles, which will aid in providing homes and opening new connective points in areas that will reduce the congestion around the Demerara Harbour Bridge. This project will also benefit the banking and construction industries through loans and the purchase of building materials, which will boost economic activity within the country. This initiative will also prompt the development of businesses within the communities to meet demands in a shorter timeframe, which will further boost economic activities.
Having proper infrastructural framework in place can aid in a country’s economic development. Without this is in place, a country suffers from low economic activity, costly business operations and low standards of living. Therefore, the government’s efforts in spending billions in improving infrastructure will soon result in increased economic benefits for the country.