Guyana to receive US$900M loan from Islamic Development Bank
– to assist with several local development initiativesThe Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has, for the period 2018 to 2020, committed to providing Guyana with financial and technical assistance to the tune of US$900 million, which will be directed into the country’s key development areas to assist with its plans for continued social and economic development.This disclosure was made by Finance Minister Winston Jordan during his address at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the IsDB Group in Tunisia. According to the minister,Finance Minister Winston Jordan at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the IsDB Group in Tunisia.this money will aid Government’s plans in a meaningful way, as it would give direct support to several Government programmes in many developmental areas.“The Bank fielded a programming mission in December 2017, where a work programme for the three-year period 2018-2020 was formalized. Financing and technical assistance of about US$900 million will be directed to key development areas; including economic infrastructure, rural development, human development, and trade and competitiveness,” the minister explained.Jordan claimed that Government has been steadfast in its resolve to ensure growth in the economy. That resolve, according to him, resulted in economic growth averaging about 3 percent between 2015 and 2017. The Finance Minister noted that this growth was achieved at a time when many of Guyana’s neighbours were facing low or negative growth rates and reduced standards of living.“My Government has and continues to concentrate on a number of key strategic approaches for the economic well-being of our country. These include: strengthening national planning; building a robust oil and gas industry; and consolidating the macroeconomic fundamentals,” he said. “But importantly also, the aim is to foster economic diversification and strengthen private sector capacity, among other (things).The Finance Minister told the meeting of Guyana’s Green State Development Strategy, which is aimed at becoming a living example of the country’s commitment to the planet. “Our Green State Development Strategy will ensure sustainable growth with equity that redounds to the economic well-being of every citizen. It could become, quite possibly, a model for other like-minded economies,” he added.Jordan also said that strategy is being fashioned through a collaborative and consultative process, and will inform future financing streams for the country. It will also allow the Guyanese people opportunity to shape the scale of the country’s development priorities, given the resource flows.He said Guyana will continue to employ timely policy measures to correct imbalances and mitigate negative effects that could stymie growth.He said, “In this regard, we aim to strengthen our analytical capability to determine the macroeconomic effects of various policies and interventions employed to grow our economy. Through the continued partnership with our multilateral partners, and specifically with our growing engagement with the IsDB, my Government is very enthusiastic about the full realization of our development agenda.”Reference was also made to Guyana adopting a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Framework, which Government recognizes has the potential to expand the resource cloak for public sector investment in a prudent, efficient and effective manner. This Framework, he said, provides a structured platform for local and external private sectors to meaningfully engage with Government to achieve economic development.“Agriculture continues to be a major contributor to growth and expansion in our economy. In this regard, the Government has leveraged the inter-locking capacity of the Bank, and is currently in an advanced stage of designing a Reverse-Linkage Project with the Malaysia Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) which will assist in updating Guyana’s expertise and technology in rice production.”This project will support the introduction of innovative rice varieties that are more resilient, and will significantly increase rice yields per acre, Jordan said.Shifting his attention to another key area, the Finance Minister said Government continues to be proactive in the promotion of non-traditional agricultural products, new technologies, and supporting infrastructure with the ultimate goal of enhancing national production and productivity.These efforts will not only ensure national food security, he said, but also substantially transform the cost structure and competitiveness of Guyana’s agriculture sector. With the Bank’s continued support as a financing mechanism and provider of technical expertise, Guyana is optimistic about growth.In helping to set the agenda of ensuring human capital development that could assist with the long-term productivity and growth at both micro and macro levels of the country, Jordan noted that Guyana and the IsDB have programmed a project to improve national education at the primary and secondary levels.This project will embrace the Inquiry Based Science and Mathematics Education (IBSME) approach. It will also make use of UNESCO’s Global Micro-Science Experiments programme and supporting mathematics kits, and will lead to the integration of mathematics through science lessons. The aim is to raise the level of scientific and mathematics literacy among teachers and students.The minister also used the opportunity to reaffirm Guyana’s commitment to resolve to further strengthen its cooperation with the Bank and fellow member countries.“It is quite evident that our joint efforts can go a long way in bringing about socio-economic stability and prosperity in Guyana, which can redound to the benefit of the Latin American and Caribbean Region. Guyana remains hopeful for its future, and grateful for the Bank’s support.” he added. Public Relation Officer of the Ministry of Finance Wanita Huburn confirmed that 99 percent of the US$900M would be in the form of loans.