–to guide cooperation, advancement between Guyana and Brazil
–infrastructure, agriculture and trade, energy and security primary areas of focus
FUTURE cooperation and advancement between Guyana and Brazil will be driven by an actionable framework which was agreed by the Presidents of both South American nations.
The strategic framework which focuses on four key areas: Agriculture and trade, energy, energy security and infrastructure and security was developed following extensive discussions which, in some cases, even preceded the visit by President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, to Guyana on Friday.
Guyana and Brazil established diplomatic relations on August 26, 1968, and the two nations have since been co-operating on areas such as trade, health, agriculture, transport and security matters.
“We had the opportunity to further elaborate on and concretise an action plan, moving forward in four areas,” President, Dr. Irfaan Ali said in a statement at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre following his engagement with President Bolsonaro.
He went on to say: “We have agreed on an actionable framework in moving forward in all of these areas.”
In outlining the specific plans, President Ali said that in the area of infrastructure, there are plans for the establishment of a deep-water port, the road link between Linden and Lethem, which would essentially connect Guyana to Brazil, fibre-optic connectivity, an energy corridor and a Free Zone.
Those projects, altogether, will now be examined collectively instead of individually, and a timeframe for advancement in this area would be determined by a team comprising investors and authorities from Brazil and Guyana.
President Bolsonaro also expressed optimism when he spoke of the plans to establish this joint working group.
NATURAL GAS STRATEGY
Further, in the area of energy, both countries plan to work together on a natural gas strategy that will guide how resources from Guyana and Brazil could be integrated and utilised for mutual benefits. Plans for a similar strategy between Guyana and Suriname are also in the pipeline.
Resources in the Guyana-Suriname Basin are estimated to be well over 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent, and more than 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, while Brazil is a renowned player in the global oil-and-gas industry.
Outside of oil and gas, President Ali said the governments of Guyana and Brazil will also be examining the potential for hydropower projects, which would form part of a holistic framework for energy production.
The overarching plan, which includes Suriname, is to create an energy corridor, which is expected to see the countries teaming up to share power, based on a collective understanding of their needs and ability to supply.
This and other topics were discussed in January when President Ali met with President Bolsonaro and Suriname’s Head of State Chandrikapersad Santokhi in Suriname.
Agriculture, which was another topic that was examined by the three Presidents, also forms part of the framework for development between Guyana and Brazil.
“A team is expected to work out an aggressive plan on the expansion of markets, the removal of barriers, how to deploy new technology, the process flow, institutional arrangements, the creation of a hub for processing and transshipment of agri-produce and products also to CARICOM,” President Ali said.
This, he said, is all linked to trade agreements and arrangements, which were thoroughly discussed by both Presidents.
Part of enhancing economic cooperation is intensifying security, and, cognisant of this, Presidents Ali and Bolsonaro discussed areas of hardware and software technology, and the strengthening of human resource capacity.
“On hardware and software technology, there is intelligence sharing; a security masterplan will be developed to support the architecture of both countries, and share responsibilities and challenges… We will also look at deploying technology in a joint way to secure our borders,” President Ali said.
With enhanced security, there will be more confidence for direct trade and investments. And, to supplement this effort and motivate investors in Brazil to invest in Guyana, President Bolsonaro said he will be offering special incentives to the business community there.
The Brazilian President said to further support development in Guyana, the nation’s oil company, Petrobras, stands ready to offer technical support.
“Guyana has a bright and promising future ahead, given oil and gas, but also because your government has fostered closer relationships with us. I am certain fruits will be reaped because of this meeting today,” President Ali said on Friday.
It was reported that returns from the sector are expected to catapult Guyana to the ranks of wealthiest countries in the Western Hemisphere, thereby increasing the government’s fiscal space to invest in initiatives geared at expanding the economy, and improving the overall welfare of citizens.
“Guyana is now poised to be one of the wealthiest countries in the hemisphere; we intend to employ the gains from exploiting these deposits into initiatives geared at expanding the economy, improving competitiveness, giving people the best social services, increasing productivity, enhancing food production, and building new sectors,” President Ali had said in his keynote address during a virtual faculty workshop on the microeconomics of competitiveness hosted by the Harvard Business School.
In painting a vivid image of what is expected of the oil-and-gas sector in the near term, Dr. Ali said that by 2025, operating cash flow, based on total investment, is expected to reach US$3.5 billion.