THE newly signed agreement under the Growth in the Americas initiative by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali will now pave the way for US private investors to strengthen partnerships with the Guyanese private sector.
On Friday, the two countries signed the historic agreement, part of the agenda of Pompeo’s visit to South America last week.
The transcription of a joint press conference with Pompeo and Ali was published on the US Department of State’s website.
The main topics discussed were direct investment with emphasis on the energy sector, safety of the region, export restrictions and Venezuela’s ongoing humanitarian crisis with Pompeo announcing that the US has allocated $5 million to assist Venezuelans in Guyana.
Ali indicated to Pompeo that the main challenges for Guyana were combating the Covid-19 pandemic and lifting the economy out of the economic downturn.
The Guyana president said, “Secretary Pompeo’s visit, moreover, solidifies the bilateral relationship between Guyana and the US and sets the stage for expanding and deepening US cooperation with Guyana. I am therefore pleased to announce the signing this morning of a framework agreement between the US Government and the Government of Guyana to strengthen energy and infrastructure finance and market building cooperation in the context of the Growth in Americas initiatives.
“This agreement will stimulate the enhancement of the business environment for US private sector investment in Guyana, particularly in the fields of energy, both unrenewable 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. “This partnership will help to meet our broader infrastructure and downstream development needs and, by extension, drive economic growth and development as well as job creation.”
Also, more opportunities will be available for firms that explore investment opportunities in tourism and the hospitality sector, ICT, food production, among others he stated.
Security would be enhanced as a result of the cooperation with focus on maritime security and joint patrols to interdict narcotics trafficking.
Ali, who was strongly supported by Pompeo during Guyana’s political unrest following its general elections earlier this year said, “With urgency, we believe the democratic values and principles should be respected in Venezuela as well.”
Pompeo said the signing of the agreement demonstrated that the US will be seeking to improve the private sector.
“That model, that investment model is superior. It will deliver real, good things for the people of your country. It will bring both those jobs frankly, jobs to America as well and it’ll increase cooperation on environmental issues just like potential spill responses.”
Pompeo added that he will assist in having export restrictions on catfish looked at as requested by Ali.
“The last economic piece our governments are working on is to increase trade and foreign direct investment here,” he said.
He emphasised that there were no political strings attached.
“The United States model is to build out on the best things of your country. We’ll show up, we’ll bring capital, we’ll bring resources, we’ll often bring technological capabilities that are much needed to develop resources, develop infrastructure for your country, but we don’t do so with political strings tied to them. We don’t operate the way other regimes do who might show up with money and then demand political retribution, or worse yet, engage in activity that is corrupt.”
Ali added that politicians will be taking an arm’s length approach.
“We have a massive market CARICOM that we can take advantage of, but we have to become competitive. We have to have economies of scale. So the resources will help us to grow these sectors that will bring additional work, create new jobs, and expand economic opportunities for our country. That is what is important for us. So oil and gas I can assure you will be managed by technically competent people.”
And Pompeo said that while US private investors will be making gains on Guyanese grounds, Guyana would benefit most.
“We’ll do the things we can to help American companies be successful, have access, have opportunities to engage in fair and transparent business dealings with Guyana. We want the wealth that is created from these opportunities that are opportunities that belong to the people of Guyana go to all of the people of Guyana, and do so in a transparent, fair way that reflects the democratic election that was just held.”