CDB reports positive Guyana growth last year

Guyana Chronicle
February 5, 2000

POSITIVE economic growth in Guyana last year was one of the examples cited yesterday by the President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in reviewing the performance of economies in the Caribbean Community.

Sir Neville Nicholls, currently in his third term as President of the Barbados-based CDB, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, was at the time conducting his annual media conference.

Against the backdrop of his review of the global economic environment and an overview of the regional economic situation, Sir Neville pointed to examples of positive and negative country performances.

Guyana's economic growth, he said, "turned positive during 1999, resulting from strong performance of the agricultural sector."

"Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by three per cent, compared with a 1.8 per cent decline in 1998", he said.

Explaining that the bank was still in the process of updating its economic data for country performances last year, Sir Neville pointed to growth in the key agricultural sectors of sugar and rice in Guyana during 1999.

Sugar production rose by 25.3 per cent, he said, as a result of increased mechanisation and improved planting techniques.

Rice production increased as well by 12.8 per cent in response to more favourable weather conditions.

In contrast, gold production fell in response to adverse world market prices, and bauxite production declined as a consequence of sub-optimal production techniques and inadequate road infrastructure.

The CDB President also reminded the media that Guyana reached HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Country) initiative completion point in May last year and now stands to benefit from a present value debt reduction of about US$256M.

By year end, Guyana's external public and public guaranteed debt declined by 2.7 per cent to reach US$1.2 Billion.

The debt service ratio fell to 18.5 per cent from 23.6 per cent in 1998.