South America :: Guyana

Introduction ::Guyana

    Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to black settlement of urban areas and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations. The resulting ethnocultural divide has persisted and has led to turbulent politics. Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966, and since then it has been ruled mostly by socialist-oriented governments. In 1992, Cheddi JAGAN was elected president in what is considered the country's first free and fair election since independence. After his death five years later, his wife, Janet JAGAN, became president but resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was reelected in 2001 and again in 2006. Donald RAMOTAR was elected president in 2011.

Geography ::Guyana

People and Society ::Guyana

    noun: Guyanese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Guyanese
    East Indian 43.5%, black (African) 30.2%, mixed 16.7%, Amerindian 9.1%, other 0.5% (2002 census)
    English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Urdu
    Protestant 30.5% (Pentecostal 16.9%, Anglican 6.9%, Seventh-Day Adventist 5%, Methodist 1.7%), Hindu 28.4%, Roman Catholic 8.1%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, Muslim 7.2%, other Christian 17.7%, other 4.3%, none 4.3% (2002 census)
    Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America and shares cultural and historical bonds with the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana's two largest ethnic groups are the Afro-Guyanese (descendants of African slaves) and the Indo-Guyanese (descendants of Indian indentured laborers), which together comprise about three quarters of Guyana's population. Tensions periodically have boiled over between the two groups, which back ethnically based political parties and vote along ethnic lines. Poverty reduction has stagnated since the late 1990s. About one-third of the Guyanese population lives below the poverty line; indigenous people are disproportionately affected. Although Guyana's literacy rate is reported to be among the highest in the Western Hemisphere, the level of functional literacy is considerably lower, which has been attributed to poor education quality, teacher training, and infrastructure.
    Guyana's emigration rate is among the highest in the world - more than 55% of its citizens reside abroad - and it is one of the largest recipients of remittances relative to GDP among Latin American and Caribbean counties. Although remittances are a vital source of income for most citizens, the pervasive emigration of skilled workers deprives Guyana of professionals in healthcare and other key sectors. More than 80% of Guyanese nationals with tertiary level educations have emigrated. Brain drain and the concentration of limited medical resources in Georgetown hamper Guyana's ability to meet the health needs of its predominantly rural population. Guyana has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the region and continues to rely on international support for its HIV treatment and prevention programs.
    739,903 (July 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
    0-14 years: 30.2% (male 113,724/female 109,643)
    15-24 years: 20.7% (male 78,798/female 74,202)
    25-54 years: 36.9% (male 138,167/female 134,695)
    55-64 years: 7.2% (male 22,772/female 30,358)
    65 years and over: 5.1% (male 15,276/female 22,268) (2013 est.)
    total dependency ratio: 65.3 %
    youth dependency ratio: 59.6 %
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.7 %
    potential support ratio: 17.7 (2013)
    total: 24.5 years
    male: 23.7 years
    female: 25.3 years (2013 est.)
    -0.21% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    16.31 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    7.18 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    -11.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    urban population: 29% of total population (2010)
    rate of urbanization: 0.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    GEORGETOWN (capital) 132,000 (2009)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.75 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
    note: Median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2009 est.)
    280 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    total: 34.45 deaths/1,000 live births
    country comparison to the world: 66
    male: 38.59 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 30.09 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total population: 67.68 years
    country comparison to the world: 162
    male: 63.83 years
    female: 71.72 years (2013 est.)
    2.21 children born/woman (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    42.5% (2009)
    5.4% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    0.59 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    2.51 beds/1,000 population (2009)
    urban: 98% of population
    rural: 93% of population
    total: 94% of population
    urban: 2% of population
    rural: 7% of population
    total: 6% of population (2010 est.)
    urban: 88% of population
    rural: 82% of population
    total: 84% of population
    urban: 12% of population
    rural: 18% of population
    total: 16% of population (2010 est.)
    1.2% (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    5,900 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    fewer than 500 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    degree of risk: very high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2013)
    17.2% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    11.1% (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    3.6% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
    total population: 91.8%
    male: 92%
    female: 91.6% (2002 Census)
    total: 11 years
    male: 10 years
    female: 11 years (2011)
    total number: 30,255
    percentage: 16 % (2006 est.)
    total: 46.05%
    country comparison to the world: 8
    male: 43.59%
    female: 50% (2011)

Government ::Guyana

    conventional long form: Cooperative Republic of Guyana
    conventional short form: Guyana
    former: British Guiana
    name: Georgetown
    geographic coordinates: 6 48 N, 58 09 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    10 regions; Barima-Waini, Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Demerara-Mahaica, East Berbice-Corentyne, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Mahaica-Berbice, Pomeroon-Supenaam, Potaro-Siparuni, Upper Demerara-Berbice, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo
    26 May 1966 (from the UK)
    Republic Day, 23 February (1970)
    6 October 1980
    common law system, based on the English model, with some Roman-Dutch civil law influence
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Donald RAMOTAR (since 03 December 2011);
    head of government: Prime Minister Samuel HINDS (since October 1992, except for a period as chief of state after the death of President Cheddi JAGAN on 6 March 1997)
    cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president, responsible to the legislature
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by popular vote as leader of a party list in parliamentary elections, which must be held at least every five years (no term limits); elections last held on 28 November 2011 (next to be called by December 2016); prime minister appointed by the president
    election results: Donald RAMOTAR elected president, percent of vote 48.6%
    unicameral National Assembly (65 seats; members elected by popular vote, also not more than 4 non-elected non-voting ministers and 2 non-elected non-voting parliamentary secretaries appointed by the president; members to serve five-year terms)
    elections: last held on 28 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2016)
    election results: percent of vote by party - PPP/C 48.6%, APNU 40%, AFC 10.3%, other 1.1%; seats by party - PPP/C 32, APNU 26, AFC 7
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Judicature (consists of the Court of Appeal with a chief justice and 3 justices, and the High Court with a chief justice and 10 justices organized into 3- or 5-judge panels)
    note - in 2009, Guyana ceased final appeals in civil and criminal cases to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London), replacing it with the Caribbean Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the Caribbean Community
    judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and High Court chief justices appointed by the president; other judges of both courts appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, a body appointed by the president; judges appointed for life with retirement at age 65
    subordinate courts: Land Court; magistrates' courts
    Alliance for Change or AFC [Khemraj RAMJATTAN]
    Justice for All Party [C.N. SHARMA]
    A Partnership for National Unity or APNU [David GRANGER]
    People's Progressive Party/Civic or PPP/C [Donald RAMOTAR]
    Rise, Organize, and Rebuild or ROAR [Ravi DEV]
    The United Force or TUF [Manzoor NADIR]
    The Unity Party [Joey JAGAN]
    Vision Guyana [Peter RAMSAROOP]
    Amerindian People's Association
    Guyana Bar Association
    Guyana Citizens Initiative
    Guyana Human Rights Association
    Guyana Public Service Union or GPSU
    Private Sector Commission
    Trades Union Congress
    chief of mission: Ambassador Bayney KARRAN
    chancery: 2490 Tracy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 265-6900
    FAX: [1] (202) 232-1297
    consulate(s) general: New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador D. Brent HARDT
    embassy: US Embassy, 100 Young and Duke Streets, Kingston, Georgetown
    mailing address: P. O. Box 10507, Georgetown; US Embassy, 3170 Georgetown Place, Washington DC 20521-3170
    telephone: [592] 225-4900 through 4909
    FAX: [592] 225-8497
    green, with a red isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a long, yellow arrowhead; there is a narrow, black border between the red and yellow, and a narrow, white border between the yellow and the green; green represents forest and foliage; yellow stands for mineral resources and a bright future; white symbolizes Guyana's rivers; red signifies zeal and the sacrifice of the people; black indicates perseverance
    Canje pheasant (hoatzin); jaguar
    name: "Dear Land of Guyana, of Rivers and Plains"

    lyrics/music: Archibald Leonard LUKERL/Robert Cyril Gladstone POTTER
    note: adopted 1966

Economy ::Guyana

    The Guyanese economy exhibited moderate economic growth in recent years and is based largely on agriculture and extractive industries. The economy is heavily dependent upon the export of six commodities - sugar, gold, bauxite, shrimp, timber, and rice - which represent nearly 60% of the country's GDP and are highly susceptible to adverse weather conditions and fluctuations in commodity prices. Guyana's entrance into the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) in January 2006 has broadened the country''s export market, primarily in the raw materials sector. Guyana has experienced positive growth almost every year over the past decade. Inflation has been kept under control. Recent years have seen the government''s stock of debt reduced significantly - with external debt now less than half of what it was in the early 1990s. Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labor and a deficient infrastructure. Despite recent improvements, the government is still juggling a sizable external debt against the urgent need for expanded public investment. In March 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank, Guyana''s principal donor, canceled Guyana''s nearly $470 million debt, equivalent to 21% of GDP, which along with other Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt forgiveness brought the debt-to-GDP ratio down from 183% in 2006 to 120% in 2007. Guyana became heavily indebted as a result of the inward-looking, state-led development model pursued in the 1970s and 1980s. Growth slowed in 2009 as a result of the world recession, but picked up in 2010-11, before slowing again in 2012, as a result of a second recession, this focused mainly in Europe. The slowdown in the domestic economy and lower import costs has helped to narrow the country''s current account deficit, despite generally lower earnings from exports.
    $6.256 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    $6.054 billion (2011 est.)
    $5.741 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $2.788 billion (2012 est.)
    3.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    5.4% (2011 est.)
    4.4% (2010 est.)
    $8,100 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    $7,800 (2011 est.)
    $7,400 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    10.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    11.7% of GDP (2011 est.)
    18.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 82.2%
    government consumption: 14.5%
    investment in fixed capital: 21.6%
    investment in inventories: -9.1%
    exports of goods and services: 63.5%
    imports of goods and services: -72.7%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 20%
    industry: 34.8%
    services: 45.2% (2012 est.)
    sugarcane, rice, edible oils; beef, pork, poultry; shrimp, fish
    bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining
    6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    313,100 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    agriculture: NA%
    industry: NA%
    services: NA%
    11% (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    35% (2006)
    lowest 10%: 1.3%
    highest 10%: 33.8% (1999)
    44.6 (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    43.2 (1999)
    revenues: $641 million
    expenditures: $806.4 million (2012 est.)
    23% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    -5.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    66.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    62.1% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    2.6% (2011 est.)
    5.5% (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    4.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
    13.9% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    14.45% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $550.4 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    $477.4 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.696 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    $1.499 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $1.223 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    $1.122 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $440.4 million (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    $339.8 million (31 December 2010)
    $287 million (31 December 2009)
    -$324.8 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    -$307.2 million (2011 est.)
    $1.311 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    $1.182 billion (2011 est.)
    sugar, gold, bauxite, alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber
    US 29.7%, Canada 27.8%, UK 5.9%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.2%, Jamaica 4.1% (2012)
    $2.065 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    $1.772 billion (2011 est.)
    manufactures, machinery, petroleum, food
    Trinidad and Tobago 23.2%, US 21.3%, China 11.8%, Cuba 6.4%, Suriname 4.3% (2012)
    $864 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    $801.8 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.846 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    $1.234 billion (31 December 2010)
    Guyanese dollars (GYD) per US dollar -
    204.36 (2012 est.)
    204.02 (2011 est.)
    203.64 (2010 est.)
    203.95 (2009)
    203.86 (2008)

Energy ::Guyana

Communications ::Guyana

    152,600 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    528,800 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    general assessment: fair system for long-distance service; microwave radio relay network for trunk lines; many areas still lack fixed-line telephone services
    domestic: fixed-line teledensity is about 20 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity about 70 per 100 persons in 2011
    international: country code - 592; tropospheric scatter to Trinidad; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)
    government-dominated broadcast media; the National Communications Network (NCN) TV is state-owned; a few private TV stations relay satellite services; the state owns and operates 2 radio stations broadcasting on multiple frequencies capable of reaching the entire country; government limits on licensing of new private radio stations continue to constrain competition in broadcast media (2007)
    24,936 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    189,600 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 142

Transportation ::Guyana

    117 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    total: 11
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
    914 to 1,523 m: 1
    under 914 m: 8 (2013)
    total: 106
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 16
    under 914 m:
    89 (2013)
    total: 7,970 km
    country comparison to the world: 140
    paved: 590 km
    unpaved: 7,380 km (2000)
    330 km (the Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo rivers are navigable by oceangoing vessels for 150 km, 100 km, and 80 km respectively) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    total: 10
    country comparison to the world: 114
    by type: cargo 7, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 1
    registered in other countries: 3 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, unknown 1) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Georgetown

Military ::Guyana

Transnational Issues ::Guyana

    all of the area west of the Essequibo River is claimed by Venezuela preventing any discussion of a maritime boundary; Guyana has expressed its intention to join Barbados in asserting claims before UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that Trinidad and Tobago's maritime boundary with Venezuela extends into their waters; Suriname claims a triangle of land between the New and Kutari/Koetari rivers in a historic dispute over the headwaters of the Courantyne; Guyana seeks arbitration under provisions of the UNCLOS to resolve the long-standing dispute with Suriname over the axis of the territorial sea boundary in potentially oil-rich waters
    current situation: Guyana is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; Guyanese and foreign women and girls are forced into prostitution in Guyana; experts are concerned that Guyanese children are subjected to exploitive labor practices in the mining, agriculture, and forestry sectors; Indonesian workers are victims of forced labor on Guyanese-flagged fishing boats
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Guyana does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; despite some progress in identifying and assisting some trafficking victims, the government has failed to increase its efforts to hold trafficking offenders accountable with jail time, creating an enabling environment for human trafficking; public comments from the government downplaying the scope of Guyana's trafficking problem diminishes the potential impact of its awareness campaigns; authorities operate a hotline for trafficking victims and conduct several awareness and sensitization sessions that target vulnerable communities (2013)
    transshipment point for narcotics from South America - primarily Venezuela - to Europe and the US; producer of cannabis; rising money laundering related to drug trafficking and human smuggling