The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects Report, published in January 2024, has projected that Guyana’s economy is set to grow 38.2% in 2024. This figure not only surpasses the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) December projection of 26.6% but also significantly impacts the overall growth prospects for the Caribbean region.
The report illustrates a stark contrast between the regional growth projection that includes Guyana, and the one that does not. Excluding Guyana which “remains in a resource-based boom since the discovery of oil”, the Caribbean region is expected to see a growth of 4.1% in 2024. However, with Guyana’s performance included, the region’s growth forecast nearly doubles to 7.6%.
Guyana’s economic surge is largely attributed to its oil sector. The commencement of the Payara project in November 2023, which is anticipated to hit 220,000 barrels per day in early 2024, is mostly responsible. This project will boost Guyana’s total oil production capacity to around 620,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of this year.
The World Bank last year reclassified Guyana as a high-income economy following substantial growth in 2022. The World Bank group categorizes global economies into four income groups: low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high, based on their gross national income (GNI) per capita, derived using the Atlas method. Guyana’s reclassification, peering it with countries like Romania and Bulgaria, was primarily due to a surge in oil and gas production, further amplified by higher commodity prices. Guyana, as of the end of 2022, ranked 67th out of 196 economies based on Atlas gross national income (GNI) per capita and is expected to climb considerably higher following the inclusion of growth numbers for 2023.
Compounding this economic narrative is the leadership role of Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali, who, as of January 1, 2024, serves as the rotating chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for six months. President Ali, the lead head of state on agriculture in the region, advocates for reducing the Caribbean’s food import bill by enhancing local food production. This approach aligns with Guyana’s investment in expanding its agricultural capabilities, making it one of the few Caribbean countries to produce more than 50% of its food.