Given the fact that Guyana is among the fastest-growing economies in the world and a nearly 50 per cent rate of economic growth is expected despite the pandemic and the ongoing Ukraine/Russia crisis, President Dr Irfaan Ali on Wednesday evening said the time to invest in Guyana is now.
“To those international investors, I will tell you frankly, if you don’t invest in Guyana in the next year, it will be too expensive for you after that,” President Ali said at the official launch of the highly anticipated International Building Expo at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown.
This is the first Building Expo being held in seven years; the event is slated for July 22 to 24 at the National Stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara. It is being held under the theme: A New Frontier for Building a One Guyana.
It provides an opportunity for home builders, contractors, the private sector, local and international investors to understand and show what Guyana has to offer in the construction and infrastructure sectors.
But President Ali said it also provides other opportunities for the banking and financial sector.
“This is not only about housing, the Building Expo is designed to showcase the development trajectory of the government from a construction perspective so persons in the private sector, in the banking sector, in the commercial sector can align their own vision and align their own business model with the direction in which the government is going,” President Ali explained.
The expo will also develop sustainable, eco-friendly plans for the housing and construction sectors.
President Ali said projects such as Windsor Estates, the Shivraj Housing Development and Young Professional Housing schemes were all birthed out of previous expos.
President Ali lauded the shift in the banking sector, pointing out that it would have been different today without the government’s housing sector.
“Today, we are receiving letters from the banking sector to finance infrastructural projects at interesting rates.
“I would say we are seeing that shift in thinking, I have said it before, the scale of thinking needs to change in the country because the scale of things that has to be done is far different from what we are accustomed to,” President Ali said.
The President urged contractors to build based on what is relevant and needed for the country and “not for show.”
“If you are not part of Building Expo, you are missing out on a huge opportunity that will put you in contact with tens of thousands of people, there is no marketing budget that Building Expo cannot give you and give you faster,” the Head of State said.
The Building Expo will address the country’s housing and infrastructural transformation over the next 10 years and President Ali used the opportunity to encourage dynamic thinking to develop and sustain the sector.
He said he wants to see more young people involved.
“I want to see thinking behind the approach in showcasing what Guyana would be, not the routine printing of banners and backdrop, we want to see more interactive dynamic approach to this, that tells a story,” President Ali said.
Meanwhile, the President of the American Chambers of Commerce (AmCham) Guyana, Devindra Kissoon, said he is looking forward to concrete investment plans and steadfast development from the expo.
“Our membership is particularly excited to partner with Guyanese and contributes in every way possible for example by introducing new technology, the skills and tools necessary to enhance an already dynamic construction sector,” Kissoon said in brief remarks.
He noted that there is high interest to build and supply prefabricated concreted walls to speed up construction, build Guyanese prefabricated homes, 3D printing of items relevant to the construction sector and there is even interest in utilising hemp for construction purposes once the legislative framework is enacted.
Additionally, Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal said while the country is experiencing major development and transformation, it will be done in keeping with the government’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
“We are confident that though there are global uncertainty, risks and challenges we can all overcome through cooperation and commitment.”
A 3D map of the expo was also unveiled at the launch on Wednesday. Businesses can register for the International Building Expo 20222 at www.buildingexpo.gy