Photos of Guyana



Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to settlement of urban areas by former slaves 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 elected in 2001 and again in 2006. Early elections held in May 2015 resulted in the first change in governing party and the replacement of President Donald RAMOTAR by current President David GRANGER. After a December 2018 no-confidence vote against the GRANGER government, national elections were constitutionally required to take place within three months. After over a year of extra-constitutional rule by the GRANGER administration, elections were held, though voting irregularities led to a nationwide recount. The current Irfaan ALI administration was sworn in to office in August 2020. The discovery of oil in 2015 has been the primary economic and political focus, with many hoping the significant reserves will transform one of the poorest countries in the region. Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America and shares cultural and historical bonds with the Anglophone Caribbean.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Suriname and Venezuela

Geographic coordinates

5 00 N, 59 00 W

Map references

South America


total: 214,969 sq km

land: 196,849 sq km

water: 18,120 sq km

comparison ranking: total 85

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Idaho; almost twice the size of Tennessee

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 2,933 km

border countries (3): Brazil 1,308 km; Suriname 836 km; Venezuela 789 km


459 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin


tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to August, November to January)


mostly rolling highlands; low coastal plain; savanna in south


highest point: Laberintos del Norte on Mount Roraima 2,775 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 207 m

Natural resources

bauxite, gold, diamonds, hardwood timber, shrimp, fish

Land use

agricultural land: 8.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 2.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 6.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 77.4% (2018 est.)

other: 14.2% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

1,430 sq km (2012)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Amazon (6,145,186 sq km), Orinoco (953,675 sq km)

Population distribution

population is heavily concentrated in the northeast in and around Georgetown, with noteable concentrations along the Berbice River to the east; the remainder of the country is sparsely populated

Natural hazards

flash flood threat during rainy seasons

Geography - note

the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay; substantial portions of its western and eastern territories are claimed by Venezuela and Suriname respectively; contains some of the largest unspoiled rainforests on the continent

People and Society


791,739 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 166


noun: Guyanese (singular and plural)

adjective: Guyanese

Ethnic groups

East Indian 39.8%, African descent 29.3%, mixed 19.9%, Indigenous 10.5%, other 0.5% (includes Portuguese, Chinese, White) (2012 est.)


English (official), Guyanese Creole, Amerindian languages (including Caribbean and Arawak languages), Indian languages (including Caribbean Hindustani, a dialect of Hindi), Chinese (2014 est.)


Protestant 34.8% (Pentecostal 22.8%, Seventh Day Adventist 5.4%, Anglican 5.2%, Methodist 1.4%), Hindu 24.8%, other Christian 20.8%, Roman Catholic 7.1%, Muslim 6.8%, Jehovah's Witness 1.3%, Rastafarian 0.5%, other 0.9%, none 3.1% (2012 est.)

Demographic profile

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.

Age structure

0-14 years: 23.65% (male 95,605/female 91,654)

15-64 years: 68.49% (male 281,157/female 261,113)

65 years and over: 7.86% (2023 est.) (male 27,269/female 34,941)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 53.6

youth dependency ratio: 44.1

elderly dependency ratio: 9.5

potential support ratio: 10.6 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 27.9 years (2023 est.)

male: 27.8 years

female: 28 years

comparison ranking: total 149

Population growth rate

0.28% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 169

Birth rate

16.7 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 96

Death rate

7 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 122

Net migration rate

-7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 215

Population distribution

population is heavily concentrated in the northeast in and around Georgetown, with noteable concentrations along the Berbice River to the east; the remainder of the country is sparsely populated


urban population: 27.2% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.01% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

110,000 GEORGETOWN (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.08 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.8 years (2009 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality ratio

112 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 65

Infant mortality rate

total: 21.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 24.5 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 18.7 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 75

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.2 years (2023 est.)

male: 70.3 years

female: 74.1 years

comparison ranking: total population 159

Total fertility rate

2.06 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 100

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 95.6% of population

total: 96.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 4.4% of population

total: 3.2% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

5.5% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

1.42 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

1.7 beds/1,000 population (2016)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 97.8% of population

rural: 95.4% of population

total: 96% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.2% of population

rural: 4.6% of population

total: 4% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

20.2% (2016)

comparison ranking: 102

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 5.11 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 2.75 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.04 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 2.3 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.02 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 83

Tobacco use

total: 12.1% (2020 est.)

male: 21.7% (2020 est.)

female: 2.4% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 121

Education expenditures

4.5% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 98


definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school

total population: 88.8%

male: 89.3%

female: 88.4% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 12 years (2012)


Environment - current issues

water pollution from sewage and agricultural and industrial chemicals; deforestation

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to August, November to January)

Land use

agricultural land: 8.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 2.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 6.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 77.4% (2018 est.)

other: 14.2% (2018 est.)


urban population: 27.2% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.01% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

4.56% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 13

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 175

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 11.11 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 2.38 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 1.81 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 179,252 tons (2010 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 968 tons (2010 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 0.5% (2010 est.)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Amazon (6,145,186 sq km), Orinoco (953,675 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 60 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 20 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 1.36 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

271 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Cooperative Republic of Guyana

conventional short form: Guyana

former: British Guiana

etymology: the name is derived from Guiana, the original name for the region that included British Guiana, Dutch Guiana, and French Guiana; ultimately the word is derived from an indigenous Amerindian language and means "Land of Many Waters" (referring to the area's multitude of rivers and streams)

Government type

parliamentary republic


name: Georgetown

geographic coordinates: 6 48 N, 58 09 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: when the British took possession of the town from the Dutch in 1812, they renamed it Georgetown in honor of King GEORGE III (1738-1820)

Administrative divisions

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)

National holiday

Republic Day, 23 February (1970)


history: several previous; latest promulgated 6 October 1980

amendments: proposed by the National Assembly; passage of amendments affecting constitutional articles, such as national sovereignty, government structure and powers, and constitutional amendment procedures, requires approval by the Assembly membership, approval in a referendum, and assent of the president; other amendments only require Assembly approval; amended many times, last in 2016

Legal system

common law system, based on the English model, with some Roman-Dutch civil law influence

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: na


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Mohammed Irfaan ALI (since 2 August 2020); First Vice President Mark PHILLIPS (since 2 August 2020); Vice President Bharrat JAGDEO (since 2 August 2020); Prime Minister Mark PHILLIPS (since 2 August 2020); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Mohammed Irfaan ALI (since 2 August 2020); First Vice President Mark PHILLIPS (since 2 August 2020); Vice President Bharrat JAGDEO (since 2 August 2020)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president, responsible to the National Assembly

elections/appointments: the predesignated candidate of the winning party in the last National Assembly election becomes president for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 2 March 2020 (next to be held in 2025); prime minister appointed by the president

election results:
2020: Mohammed Irfaan ALI (PPP/C) designated president by the majority party in the National Assembly

2015: David GRANGER (APNU-AFC) designated president by the majority party in the National Assembly

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly (70 seats; 40 members directly elected in a single nationwide constituencies, 25 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies - all by closed-list proportional representation vote, 2 non-elected ministers, 2 non-elected parliamentary secretaries, and the speaker; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 2 March 2020 (next to be held in 2025)

election results: percent of vote by party - PPP/C 50.69%, APNU-AFC 47.34%, LJP 0.58%, ANUG 0.5%, TNM 0.05%, other 0.84%; seats by party - PPP/C 33, APNU-AFC 31, LJP-ANUG-TNM 1; composition (elected and non-elected) - men 45, women 25, percent of women 35.7%; note - the initial results were declared invalid and a partial recount was conducted from 6 May to 8 June 2020, in which PPP/C was declared the winner

Judicial branch

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 acceded to the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal in civil and criminal cases, replacing that of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)

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

Political parties and leaders

A New and United Guyana or ANUG [Ralph RAMKARRAN]
A Partnership for National Unity or APNU [Joseph HARMON]
Alliance for Change or AFC [Khemraj RAMJATTAN]
Justice for All Party [Chandra Narine SHARMA]
Liberty and Justice Party or LJP [Lenox SHUMAN]
National Independent Party or NIP [Saphier Husain SUBEDAR]
People's Progressive Party/Civic or PPP/C [Dr. Bharrat JAGDEO]
The New Movement or TNM [Dr. Asha KISSOON]
The United Force or TUF [Marissa NADIR]
United Republican Party or URP [Vishnu BANDHU]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Samuel Archibald HINDS (since 7 July 2021)

chancery: 2490 Tracy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 265-6900

FAX: [1] (202) 232-1297

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Sarah-Ann LYNCH (since 13 March 2019)

embassy: 100 Young and Duke Streets, Kingston, Georgetown

mailing address: 3170 Georgetown Place, Washington DC 20521-3170

telephone: [592] 225-4900 through 4909

FAX: [592] 225-8497

email address and website:

Flag description

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; also referred to by its nickname The Golden Arrowhead

National symbol(s)

Canje pheasant (hoatzin), jaguar, Victoria Regia water lily; national colors: red, yellow, green, black, white

National anthem

name: "Dear Land of Guyana, of Rivers and Plains"

lyrics/music: Archibald Leonard LUKERL/Robert Cyril Gladstone POTTER

note: adopted 1966


Economic overview

small, hydrocarbon-driven South American export economy; major forest coverage being leveraged in carbon credit offsets to encourage preservation; strengthening financial sector; large bauxite and gold resources

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$28.819 billion (2022 est.)
$17.64 billion (2021 est.)
$14.693 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 144

Real GDP growth rate

63.37% (2022 est.)
20.06% (2021 est.)
43.48% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 1

Real GDP per capita

$35,600 (2022 est.)
$21,900 (2021 est.)
$18,400 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 60

GDP (official exchange rate)

$14.718 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

6.12% (2022 est.)
5.03% (2021 est.)
0.99% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 95

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 15.4% (2017 est.)

industry: 15.3% (2017 est.)

services: 69.3% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 74; industry 180; agriculture 64

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 71.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 18.2% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 25.4% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 47.8% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -63% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, sugar cane, coconuts, pumpkins, squash, gourds, milk, eggplants, green chillies/peppers, poultry


bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining

Industrial production growth rate

98.53% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 1

Labor force

288,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 168

Unemployment rate

12.3% (2022 est.)
14.98% (2021 est.)
15.69% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 179

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 29.9% (2021 est.)

male: 23.5%

female: 39.6%

comparison ranking: total 40

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.3%

highest 10%: 33.8% (1999)


3.67% of GDP (2022 est.)
6.81% of GDP (2021 est.)
7.84% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities


revenues: $1.333 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $1.467 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-4.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 163

Public debt

52.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
50.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 98

Taxes and other revenues

28.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 32

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$254.121 million (2022 est.)
-$2.503 billion (2021 est.)
-$396.533 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 99


$11.536 billion (2022 est.)
$4.64 billion (2021 est.)
$2.799 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 107

Exports - partners

United States 40%, Singapore 14%, United Arab Emirates 6%, United Kingdom 6%, Barbados 6% (2021)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, gold, rice, aluminum ores, railway shipping containers, rums   (2021)


$7.067 billion (2022 est.)
$6.611 billion (2021 est.)
$3.756 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 133

Imports - partners

Singapore 33%, United States 19%, Trinidad and Tobago 12%, China 8%, Brazil 2% (2021)

Imports - commodities

floating drilling platforms, refined petroleum, valves, construction vehicles, cars (2021)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$917.877 million (2022 est.)
$790.785 million (2021 est.)
$680.634 million (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 158

Debt - external

$1.69 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.542 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 157

Exchange rates

Guyanese dollars (GYD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
208.5 (2022 est.)
208.5 (2021 est.)
208.5 (2020 est.)
208.5 (2019 est.)
207.717 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 92.8% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 97.5% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 91.1% (2021.)


installed generating capacity: 380,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 905.4 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 247 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 156; transmission/distribution losses 70; imports 177; exports 169; consumption 164

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 97.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 1.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 110,200 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 18,100 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 204

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 134

Refined petroleum products - imports

13,720 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 140

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

2.743 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 2.743 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 150

Energy consumption per capita

48.608 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 102


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 125,000 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 16 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 129

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 860,000 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 110 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 166

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: after many years of delays and legal challenges, the 2016 Telecommunications Act was brought into force in October 2020 by the newly elected government of the People’s Party Progressive (PPP); the Telecommunications Act sets out a framework for enabling competition across all segments of the telecommunications sector in Guyana; the mobile market has been open to competition since 2001; the Telecommunications Act presents the country with the potential to benefit from a more level playing field that may attract new players, but nevertheless Guyana’s relatively small size and low GDP may restrict it from reaching its full potential for some more years to come (2021)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity is about 16 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity about 110 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 592; landing point for the SG-SCS submarine cable to Suriname, and the Caribbean; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

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 has constrained competition in broadcast media

Internet users

total: 680,000 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 85% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 161

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 95,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 128



51 (2024)

comparison ranking: 86


total: 3,995 km

paved: 799 km

unpaved: 3,196 km (2019)

comparison ranking: total 157


330 km (2012) (the Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo Rivers are navigable by oceangoing vessels for 150 km, 100 km, and 80 km respectively)

comparison ranking: 101

Merchant marine

total: 80 (2023)

by type: general cargo 45, oil tanker 10, other 25

comparison ranking: total 99

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Georgetown

Military and Security

Military and security forces

the Guyana Defense Force is a unified force with ground, air, and coast guard components, as well as the Guyana National Reserve (2024)

note: the Guyana Police Force under the Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for internal security

Military expenditures

0.6% of GDP (2022 est.)
1% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.2% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.3% of GDP (2019 est.)
1.3% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 150

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 3,500 active-duty military personnel (2024)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military has a limited inventory comprised mostly of second-hand platforms from a variety of foreign suppliers, including Brazil, China, the former Soviet Union, the UK, and the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age or older for voluntary military service; no conscription (2024)

Military - note

the Guyana Defense Force (GDF) was established in 1965; its primary missions are defense of the country, including border security, assisting civil authorities with law and order as needed, and contributing to the Guyana’s economic development; key areas of concern include disaster response, illegal fishing, narcotics trafficking, piracy, and porous borders; the GDF participates in both bilateral and multinational exercises and has relationships with Brazil, China, France, the UK, and the US; the GDF’s ground force officers are trained at the British Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, while coast guard officers receive training at the British Royal Naval College

the GDF’s ground combat forces include three infantry battalions (one reserve), a special forces squadron, and an artillery company; the coast guard has an offshore patrol craft and a few patrol boats, as well as a small amphibious “raider” force; the air corps does not have any combat aircraft but instead provides tactical observation, transport, casualty evacuation, and other forms of support to the ground forces

Guyana joined the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) in 2022; RSS signatories (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters, and threats to national security (2024)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Guyana-Venezuela: Venezuela claims all of the area west of the Essequibo River in Guyana, preventing any discussion of a maritime boundary; in 2018, Guyana initiated proceedings against Venezuela with the International Court of Justice (ICJ); Venezuela requested a direct dialogue to settle the dispute; the ICJ ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear the case in December 2020; in December 2023, the Venezuelan Government held a referendum on the disputed Essequibo region and announced measures to exert administrative control over the area 

Guyana-Suriname: Suriname claims a triangle of land between the New and Kutari/Koetari Rivers in a historic dispute over the headwaters of the Courantyne River

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 24,500 (Venezuela) (economic and political crisis; includes Venezuelans who have claimed asylum, are recognized as refugees, or received alternative legal stay) (2021)

Illicit drugs

a transit country for cocaine destined for the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and West Africa; growing domestic marijuana cultivation and consumption