Profile: Facts at a Glance

Official Name: Co-operative Republic of Guyana. Formerly British Guiana.

Capital: Georgetown

Flag: Green background (representing agriculture and forests) with a red triangle (zeal) edged with black (endurance) superimposed on a white triangle (mineral wealth) edged with white (waters).


Time: Four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time

Location: North Eastern Coast of the South American Continent

Area: 214,970 sq. km. (82,980 sq. mi.); about the size of Idaho. Terrain: Coastal plain, inland highlands, rain forest, savannah. Climate: Equitorial. Temperature on the Coast ranges from 20° C to 33.8° C and in the interior between 18.3° C and 39.4° C. Unlike many other West Indian countries, Guyana is not affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes.


Nationality: Noun and adjective--Guyanese (sing. and pl.).

Population (1992 est.): 739,000. Annual net population increase 1.4%, less net migration rate: 2.0%, equals annual growth rate: -0.6% (all 1992 ests.). Cities: capital--Georgetown (pop. 248,000). Other cities--Linden (pop. 27,000) and New Amsterdam (18,000).

Ethnic groups: East Indian origin 51%, African origin 29%, mixed 14%, Amerindian 4%, European and Chinese origin 2%. Religions: Christian 50%, Hindu 33%, Muslim 9%, other 8%.


Type: Republic within the Commonwealth. Democratically elected - Presidential form of Government.

Head of State: His Excellency Dr. Cheddi Jagan

Independence: May 26, 1966. Republic: February 23, 1970. Constitution: 1980.

Branches: Executive--executive president (chief of state and head of government), prime minister. Legislative--unicameral National Assembly (53 directly, 12 indirectly elected members for 5-year term 1992-1997). Judicial--Court of Appeal, High Court.

Subdivisions: 10 regions.

Political parties and seats in the National Assembly: People's Progressive Party (PPP), 36; People's National Congress (PNC), 26; Working People's Alliance (WPA), 2; The United Force (TUF), 1; Democratic Labour Movement (DLM), 0.

Suffrage: Universal over 18.

Central government budget (1993): $143 million.

Defense: 1.3% of GDP (1992).


GDP (1992): $375 million. Real annual growth rate (1992): 7.8%. Per capita GDP (1992 est.): $500. Inflation rate (1992): 14%.

Agriculture (29% of 1992 GDP): Products--sugar, rice.

Industry (23% of 1992 GDP): Types--gold and bauxite mining, manufacturing, processing.

OTHER NATURAL RESOURCES: Diamonds, timber, shrimp, fish.

TRADE (1992): Exports--$322 million: sugar, bauxite, rice, gold, shrimp, rum, timber, molasses. Major markets--US (38.2% - bauxite, sugar, shrimp), UK, CARICOM countries. Imports--$307 million. Major suppliers--US (38.4%), UK, Venezuela.

EDUCATION: Years compulsory--ages 5-14. Attendance (1988, first grade)--69%. Literacy--95% (est. 1990).

HEALTH: Infant mortality rate--(1992) 50/1,000. Life expectancy--(1992) men 61, women 68.

LANGUAGES: (Main): English, Guyanese Creole, Amerindian dialects.

3,000 to 4,000 in Guyana; 500 in Brazil; very few in Venezuela with no villages there (1982 D. Wall WC); 3,500 to 4,500 total
1,500 speakers out of 5,000 in the ethnic group in Guyana (1984 estimate); 700 in Surinam; 150 to 200 in French Guiana; a few in Venezuela (1977 SIL); 2,400 total speakers
15 speakers with full, active competence, 15 with limited competence (1989 J. Holm)
450,000,000 total (1991 WA)
650,000 possibly (250,000 Blacks and 400,000 Hindustanis); 50,000 in Surinam (1986 SIL); 700,000 total
195,000 total. Only a small percentage of the 538,500 Hindustanis in Guyana (55% of the population; 1986) speak Caribbean Hindi
475 or more in Guyana; 2,500 in Surinam; 1,200 in French Guiana; 100 or fewer in Brazil (1991); 4,000 to 5,000 in Venezuela (1978 J.C. Mosonyi); 10,000 total (1991)
1,300 in Guyana; 3,800 in Brazil (1977 Migliazza); 600 in Venezuela (1976 UFM); 5,700 total
3,000 to 4,000 (1982 D. Wall WC); about 13 villages
400 to 500 Arekuna in Guyana in two villages (D. Wall 1982); 220 Taulipang in Brazil; 459 Ingarikó in Brazil; 4,850 Pemon in Venezuela (1977 Migliazza); 5,930 total
Few speakers
886 to 1,058 total (1986 SIL)
9,000 in Guyana (1991 SIL); 1,500 in Brazil (1986 SIL); 10,500 total
A few speakers in Guyana and Surinam; 15,000 in Venezuela (1975) Blind population 1,300 (1982 WCE)

Deaf institutions 6

WORK FORCE (268,000): Agriculture--33.8% Industry and commerce--44.5%. Services--21.7%. Public sector employment--approx. 30%. Organized labor--34%.


UN and most of its specialized and related agencies, including the Generalized Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), International Labor Organization (ILO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank; Caribbean Community (CARICOM); Caribbean Development Bank (CDB); Commonwealth; Group of 77; International Bauxite Association; Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); Latin American Economic System (SELA); Nonaligned Movement (NAM).

MAJOR AIRPORT: Timehri International

AIRLINES: Guyana Airways, ALM, BWIA, LIAT, Suriname Airways (SLM)

INTERNATIONAL COUNTRY CODE:For telecommunication to Guyana - 592