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Guyana Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Guyana will begin producing oil in 2020, five years after the first discovery by ExxonMobil. After forecast GDP growth of 3.7% in both 2018 and 2019, economic expansion will accelerate to double-digit levels in 2020, with foreign investment and government revenues enjoying a substantial boost. The economic impact of energy puts Guyana at risk of inflation, currency appreciation, reduced non-energy competitiveness, and corruption. A key factor will be how the government manages the increased revenue and its success in achieving local labour involvement in the oil sector. Main policy priorities for President David Granger's A Partnership for National Unity (APNI)-led coalition government, which holds a one-seat majority in the National Assembly, will be allocating increased fiscal revenues from offshore oil production and to train the domestic workforce to benefit from the emerging oil sector. The government also is seeking to develop the tourism and renewable energy sectors. Local politics historically are polarised between the Afro-Guyanese and Indo-Guyanese communities. This currently is reflected by rivalry between the APNI and the opposition People's Progressive Party-Civic (PPP-C). The split increases the risk of violent unrest along ethnic lines. Labour protests are likely in the agriculture – especially sugar – and education sectors, co-ordinated by unions. Occasional protests from workers in the energy and mining sectors and against forestry activities are likely but would not generate significant commercial disruption. Border incidents with Venezuela are likely, especially given oil discoveries in disputed waters since 2015, but these are unlikely to trigger an all-out inter-state armed conflict. Despite Venezuela claiming around two-thirds of Guyanese land and maritime territory the deterioration of Venezuela's economy makes military intervention highly unlikely. Guyana will continue seeking ICJ resolution with Venezuela rejecting its jurisdiction and favouring UN mediation instead. There is a moderate risk of seizure by the Venezuelan Navy of oil exploration vessels and platforms operating in disputed waters. © 2018, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Last update: December 7, 2018

Operational Outlook

The government welcomes foreign direct investment, although high levels of bureaucracy constrain business operations. It is seeking to diversify the economy in areas such as tourism and renewable energy production, and to train the workforce for the emerging oil sector. In March 2018, the government said it was planning infrastructure development on former sugar estate lands to accommodate for 200,000 expatriates that are likely to return to Guyana to work in the oil sector. Operational risks also arise from natural disasters, especially flooding, and the poor state of some of the country's transport infrastructure.

Last update: October 9, 2018

Terrorism

Elevated

Terrorism risks by transnational groups are low, and transnational crime is limited to extortion and armed robbery by Venezuelan gangs on border areas. There is a low risk of Islamist terrorism based in or directed from Guyana, despite the implication of a group of Guyanese men in an alleged plot to blow up fuel tanks at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York in 2007, there is a low risk overall of Islamist terrorism based in or directed from Guyana. The mainly Indo-Guyanese Sunni Muslim community makes up just over 7% of Guyana's population and is generally well-integrated into national economic, community, and political life.

Last update: November 2, 2018

War Risks

Border disputes with Suriname and Venezuela are likely to continue, but neither is likely to lead to a broader conflict. Relations with Suriname have improved considerably in recent years. Despite Venezuela claiming around two-thirds of Guyanese territory, and the discovery of oil in disputed maritime territory fueling the dispute since 2015, the intensification of Venezuela's own internal political crisis makes military intervention highly unlikely. Increasing migration flows from Venezuela are likely to lead to increased allocation of Guyanese military patrols on the border; however, this is unlikely to substantially raise inter-state war risks.

Last update: November 2, 2018

Social Stability

Elevated

Political polarisation increases the risk of violent unrest along ethnic lines. Industrial protests and marches are likely in the agriculture – especially sugar – and education sectors, co-ordinated by unions. There are very occasionally protests from workers in the energy and mining sector, as occurred in Linden in 2012 when the government increased electricity prices. The 2017 levy of VAT on a large range of goods and services has also been a source of protests. Disruptive protests against mining and forestry firms in the interior regions of Guyana are likely.

Last update: November 2, 2018

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccines required to enter the country

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease; it should be taken ten days in advance to be fully effective.

Vaccines recommended for all travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is generally recommended for travelers over nine months of age.

Vaccines recommended for most travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines recommended for some travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.

Last update: November 30, 2018

Natural Risks

Very high

The country is often subjected to torrential rains, with the potential to result in flooding in coastal areas. The main rainy seasons occur in December-January and May-June, although heavy rains can strike year-round.

While direct hits are rare, Guyana can be affected by tropical storm systems during the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 to November 30.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Transportation

Elevated

The main coastal roads are paved, but the coastal road system is not continuous - i.e. there are not always bridges over rivers, necessitating travelers' use of ferries. Ferry services also link Guyana with neighboring Suriname. There are no passenger rail services in operation. Much of the interior of the country is only accessible by plane or boat. More information regarding the state of transportation infrastructure is available here. Drivers should be aware that Guyana suffers from high rates of road accidents due to poor driving habits, non-enforcement of traffic laws, and the poor conditions of many roads.

To augment personal security, do not use public transportation; taxi services can be used if referred by major hotels or tourism officials.

There is little tourist infrastructure and few hotels located outside the capital.

Short-term power outages are relatively common in the country.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Practical Information

Climate

Guyana's climate is hot and humid with humidity rates often approaching 100%. Temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year with the hottest temperatures recorded in inland areas far from the coastline, where nights are cool (14°C). It rains more in the north (coastal regions) than in the south (savanna). The rainy season lasts from May until July along the coasts and until September inland; there is a second rainy season along the coast from November until January.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +592
Police: 911 or 225 6411
Fire Dept.: 912
Ambulance: 913

Electricity

Voltage: 240 V ~ 60 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: December 9, 2013