‘Deals’ expected from US$2 billion fund for American companies to invest in Guyana – Amb. Lynch

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Guyana and the United States Export-Import Bank in July last year signed an agreement to finance projects in Guyana – outside of oil and gas – for up to an initial US$2 billion and now deals are being hammered out for American companies to invest in significant projects here, U.S. Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch has told the News Room.

Getting American companies to invest here “has been a real priority for Embassy Georgetown,” she said in an interview Wednesday.

Regarding the Exim bank funding, she said there are deals that are in the works right now.

“Some of them have taken a little bit longer because they’re of a significant size,” she said.

Lynch said it was her own priority to sell Guyana to American companies.

“I told U.S. companies the story of Guyana and all of the wonderful opportunities that are available to investors right now.

“So we did spend a lot of time over these years contacting U.S. companies, she said.

Even during “the dark days of COVID”, she said the embassy engaged U.S. companies, including contacting them on the phone and hosting webinars.

Once COVID-19 travel restrictions were eased, a number of U.S. trade missions came to Guyana, including one from Louisiana which ranked as the largest trade mission from the U.S. to ever visit Guyana.

“…all of those trade missions resulted in deals,” Lynch said.

“When I first arrived here (in 2019) there were a handful of U.S. companies here…but we were really focused on small and medium-sized companies because they tend to be the engine of change for any nation and so we were able to attract a lot of U.S. companies to come here and explore and many of them chose to invest,” the Ambassador said.

She said some of them were small family-owned companies that were first-time investors overseas.

”We do tell them to come with a plan, do their homework, have an idea, know what they want to do, and then get a local partner.

“So most of them, the successful ones, have listened to our advice and we’re so pleased to see them doing so well,” Ambassador Lynch said.

She referenced Myer Marine Services and Hargrove Engineers + Constructors, from Mobile, Alabama who have signed an agreement with local company Gaico Construction.

“…they’re in shipping and they had never thought about investing overseas, but they heard this Guyana story.

“And they were one of the ones that did their research. They came here, which we always say is important to establish trust, and they decided to invest,” she stated.

And besides investing, they’re giving back, training Guyanese, the Ambassador stated.

In terms of new companies, she pointed to New Century which is engaged in a contract to build 200 three-bedroom houses at Leonora, West Coast Demerara.

She said the embassy has been luring investors from a range of sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, IT services, tourism, etc.

“Investors are very interested in looking at Guyana, you know, as the fastest or at least one of the fastest growing economies in the world at 60% (growth) last year, looking ahead at maybe upwards of 25% for the next few years.

“They would be silly to not look at Guyana.”

She said there are still some barriers to investing in Guyana, including poor infrastructure, the high cost of electricity, and lack of human resources.

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