There was non-stop interest in the business opportunities that abound in Guyana at the international Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) and Chief Investment Officer of GO-Invest Peter Ramsaroop says that partnerships to guarantee local content was emphasised.
This annual conference was held in Houston, Texas from August 16 to 19. Guyana was represented by a sizable contingent of government officials and members of the local private sector; the contingent was led by Vice- President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo.
Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of an event on Tuesday, Ramsaroop, who was part of Guyana’s contingent at the conference, said that the conference was an “exciting week” for the government and the private sector.
Of particular importance, he said, was the high interest from foreign companies to establish joint ventures with local companies. And as such, he said that quite a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed during that conference.
“And one of the things we pushed with the foreign companies is that the local content and the need for partnering and joint ventures is the most important factor coming into Guyana,” Ramsaroop underscored.
He explained that despite the high interest numerous foreign companies have in coming to invest in Guyana’s rapidly developing economy, emphasis has to be placed on ensuring that local businesses get a “first shot”.
He later added that this focus on local content extends beyond the OTC and is ingrained in the day-to-day operations of GO-Invest.
“Any foreign company coming in, you know, the first question I ask is ‘Which local company you’re working with?’ (and) ‘What are the types of jobs that we’re gonna hire?’ So all about promoting Guyanese,” he said.
The Go-Invest Head also contended that technology transfers are another crucial component that must complement foreign investment, and this too was touted at the OTC.
Technology transfer refers to the movement of technical knowledge, designs, software or companies’ operational procedures from one firm to another. Within the context of local content, this simply means that foreign companies- which may be more experienced or technologically advanced- could facilitate growth and learning among local companies. And as such, local companies would be able to build capacity and provide the same services, eventually.
Having emphasised Guyana’s position on guaranteeing local content, Dr. Ramsaroop said, “…our private sector has agreed to really work with these companies to expand their operations.”
Guyana’s participation at the OTC was seen as necessary for local content development since it provides opportunities for local businesses to network and seeks partners in pursuit of emerging opportunities here.