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– Red tape hindering investment opportunities to be addressed
Policy, legal, regulatory, institutional and market barriers hampering investment opportunities in the areas of Energy and Infrastructure will be placed under the microscope as the United States of America and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana seek to strengthen private sector partnership between the two countries.
On Friday morning at State House, Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd and the US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo signed a Growth in the Americas Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – a framework intended to strengthen Energy and Infrastructure Finance and Market Building Cooperation between the US and Guyana.
Under this agreement, Guyana and the US will identify investment opportunities to foster infrastructure growth, integration, and energy security while simultaneously advancing their economic agendas. High-level teams from both countries are expected to catalyze private capital and facilitate market growth for infrastructure development through programmatic and project-specific investment opportunities to ensure the agreement bear fruit.
But the parties agreed that their goals cannot be achieved if certain barriers are not removed.
“A key focus of this collaboration is expected to be identifying policy, legal, regulatory, institutional, and market barriers and proposing solutions that could help catalyse the investment necessary to achieve Guyana’s infrastructure goals,” a section of the framework document explained.
President Irfaan Ali, who witnessed the signing of the MoU, said it will foster a better environment for US businesses operate and invest in Guyana.
“This Agreement will stimulate the enhancement of the business environment for US private sector investment in Guyana, particularly in the fields of energy – both non-renewables and renewables – and infrastructure. The Agreement will also pave the way for the US private sector to expand their investment portfolio and partner with the Guyanese private sector,” the Head of State said.
He further explained that “these partnerships will help to meet our broader infrastructure and downstream development needs and by extension drive economic growth and development as well as job creation. Notably, more opportunities will be available for firms to explore investment opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector, ICT and food production, among others.”
The US Secretary of State, in his address, said Guyana is the second Caribbean nation to sign unto the Growth in the Americas Initiative. “It demonstrates that the United States want to model the Private Sector, not State owned enterprises, because that model, that investment model, is superior, will deliver real good things to the people of your country,” Pompeo told journalists during a joint press conference held immediately after the signing of the MoU. He noted too that it will create job opportunities for both Guyanese and Americans while increasing cooperation, trade and foreign investment.
Notably, under the Growth in the Americas MoU, Guyana and the US will focus on six primary areas of cooperation – development of a deep and liquid debt market for infrastructure investments; formulation and identification of financing tools and structures; the promotion of innovation and sustainability through global best practices; and the identification of key legal, regulatory and institutional barriers inhibiting broad-based investment in energy and other infrastructure.
Additionally, the countries will collaborate on financial capacity-building and technical collaboration programmes including programmes to strengthen financing for infrastructure development.
Further, they will promote “U.S private sector awareness of strategic energy and other infrastructure projects in Guyana and exploring potential financial support from the U.S International Development Finance Cooperation, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and the U.S Trade and Development Agency to facilitate private sector participation and investment in such projects.”
Possible infrastructure projects that can result from the Growth in the Americas MoU include water, energy and hydro-carbons and the construction of buildings, airports, basic sanitation, information technology, logistics infrastructure, roads, railways, bridges, ports and tunnels.
The signing of the MoU comes at a time when Guyana is described as having one of the world’s fastest growing economies as a result of its massive oil finds by U.S oil giant ExxonMobil. Within 90 days, an established Working Group is expected to initiate a plan to ensure the objectives of the MoU are achieved within a specified timeframe.