The sovereign state of Guyana is one of the few Caribbean countries and territories that are situated on the mainland and not in the middle of the sea. The republic sits on the northern coastline of South America, between Venezuela and Suriname. It is quite large covering 83,000 square miles and has a population of approximately 800,000 inhabitants. Instead of the East Caribbean Dollar, which is used by the majority of Caribbean countries, Guyana has the Guyanese Dollar.
Agriculture in the Guyana Economy
Like much of the Caribbean area during the 17th and 18th centuries, the Guyana economy was heavily reliant on the sugar cane trade, although it was not as prominent as other countries such as the Dominican Republic or Barbados. Other agricultural industries were introduced through the years to help boost the economy such as rice and molasses.
In these current times, agriculture is steady in terms of contributing to the Guyana economy, with 75% of exports related to this particular industry. There is still sugar production which accounts for most of the agricultural industries export to other countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Jamaica. Rice production in the country has seen a decrease since 2000, but the likes of shrimp farming are now on the increase.
Key Contributions from Mining & Services
Mining is also a major contributor when it comes to sustaining the Guyana economy. The country is a big producer of bauxite, gold, diamonds and alumina which is a fairly big earner when it comes to exporting. With these commodities the export of timber, clothing and pharmaceutical products are also on the increase.
The service sector accounts for around 33% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) rate with industries such as telecommunications, postal services, transport, tourism, banking and financial services playing an integral role in this particular sector.
Financial Boost For the economy
Although Guyana has these few industries contributing to its economy, the country remains one of the poorest. In 2008 the country was in debt to the tune of around $804 million US Dollars and indeed, most of the debt due to the United States of America was forgiven under the "Heavily Indebted Poor Countries" initiative in 1999. Guyana has also been part of the "Food for Peace" programme since 1986 with the United States of America supplying the country with its entire quota of wheat. Under the terms of this programme the proceeds from selling the wheat are put towards purposes already agreed between the United States and the Guyana government.
Importing products and goods to be able to sustain the industries already present or indeed to create new diverse industries in the country is essentially off limits. Without the funds to be able to increase productivity, the Guyana economy is effectively stuck in a rut. Guyana would need a considerable amount of outside help for wealthier countries in order to be able to even start to get its economy back on an even keel.