World Bank backs Guyana oil growth

4 Apr 19

The World Bank is allocating $20m to help Guyana create the regulations and institutions needed to develop its rapidly growing oil and gas sector.

The International Development Association (IDA) credit will enable the country to create checks and balances that lessen the environmental and social impacts of hydrocarbons production in the country.

A series of oil and gas discoveries since 2015 has propelled Guyana into the world’s top 25 oil reserve-holders and will help annual GDP growth soar from 4.6% in 2019 to 34% in 2020.

“Well managed oil revenues can have a transformative and sustainable impact on a country’s development,” said Tahseen Sayed, the World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. 

“Guyana today has an extraordinary opportunity to reduce poverty and bring long-term benefits to its people.”

Funding for the Guyana Petroleum Resources Governance and Management Project will enable it to provide technical assistance to country’s government as it updates existing laws and regulations in order to create the checks and balances needed to develop oil and gas.

The project will not finance upstream oil and gas production, in keeping with the World Bank Group announcement at the 2017 One Planet Summit.

The funding will also help officials build the capacity of key institutions to manage oil revenues – including the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Finance – and the project also aims to conduct information and citizen engagement campaigns.

Christopher Sheldon, World Bank Practice Manager, Energy and Extractives Global Practice, said: “Resource wealth can lift people out of poverty and boost human capital. But a robust policy framework with strong regulations and institutions is an essential prerequisite.

“Through this technical assistance the World Bank will contribute to strengthening Guyana’s institutions and enhancing its legal and regulatory framework, maximizing the benefits of its natural resources.”

  • Gavin O'Toole, expert on Latin America
    Gavin O'Toole

    A freelance journalist. He has written six books about Latin America and taught the politics of the region at Queen Mary, University of London.

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