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… to go towards education, health and economic diversification over the next 10 years
By Lisa Hamilton
The Stabroek Block partners have committed US$100 million or GYD$20 billion to be invested in capacity building in Guyana over the next 10 years as part of the Greater Guyana Initiative, launched virtually on Tuesday.
The commitment aims to significantly expand capacity-building efforts and promote sustainable economic development in Guyana. The initiative will focus mainly on education, health and economic diversification.
“Together with our Stabroek Block co-ventures HESS and CNOOC, ExxonMobil Guyana is making a voluntary commitment of more than GYD$20 billion or US$100 million to be invested in capacity building in Guyana over the next 10 years. We are calling this commitment, the Greater Guyana Initiative,” President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge announced.
He stated further that over two years have gone into planning for the initiative with key stakeholders and the public to better understand Guyana’s needs. The Stabroek Block partners will choose capacity-building projects to fund in consultation with local, regional and national stakeholders.
The intent is not to duplicate national initiatives but to implement outstanding initiatives. “I want to be clear, that these initiatives will be fully-funded by the Stabroek Block and they will be in no way cost recovered,” Routledge said.
The Stabroek Block partners have already begun to lay the groundwork for capacity building through the University of Guyana (UG), the Centre for Local Business Development and Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
In a message, President Ifraan Ali commended the Stabroek Block co-ventures stated: “My Government supports any corporate socially responsible initiative that will see long-term sustained benefit for all Guyanese. The Greater Guyana Initiative is, therefore, a welcomed venture that can result in transformation of knowledge, skills and experience to Guyanese.”
Joining in with a message was Vice president of Guyana and Suriname for Hess Corporation, Tim Chisholm who said: “We are committed to supporting the long-term sustainable growth and prosperity of Guyana that is shared across the whole of society. Guyana’s future has never looked brighter, and we believe that the Greater Guyana Initiative will play an important role in making that promise a reality.”
Meanwhile, Executive Vice President of CNOOC Limited and Chairman of CNOOC International, Xia Qinglong said that the launching of the Greater Guyana Initiative marks a milestone in delivering benefits from the hydrocarbon or offshore economy directly to the Guyanese people.
“Through this collaborative, sustainable and mutually-reinforcing initiative, communities across Guyana would actualise tangible benefit,” he projected.
Also invited to speak, was Chairman of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council, Clinton Williams who said that the extensive collaboration and planning which went into the initiatives ensures the outcome of a comprehensive programme
“[It will ensure] targeted education for youth in the areas of mechanical, electrical and welding as well as tailored training for instructors that are suited for the long-term development needs of Guyana,” he said.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Dr. Paloma Mohamed added that The Greater Guyana Initiative will significantly impact the university, its student and staff for the better.
ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) is operator of the offshore Stabroek Block with a 45 percent interest. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds 30 percent interest and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds 25 percent interest.