South America :: Guyana
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Guyana
Location of Guyana
 
Map of 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. This 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.
Geography ::Guyana
Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Suriname and Venezuela
5 00 N, 59 00 W
total: 214,969 sq km
country comparison to the world: 84
land: 196,849 sq km
water: 18,120 sq km
slightly smaller than Idaho
total: 2,949 km
border countries: Brazil 1,606 km, Suriname 600 km, Venezuela 743 km
459 km
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
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Roraima 2,835 m
bauxite, gold, diamonds, hardwood timber, shrimp, fish
arable land: 2.23%
permanent crops: 0.14%
other: 97.63% (2005)
1,500 sq km (2003)
241 cu km (2000)
total: 1.64 cu km/yr (2%/1%/98%)
per capita: 2,187 cu m/yr (2000)
flash floods are a constant threat during rainy seasons
water pollution from sewage and agricultural and industrial chemicals; deforestation
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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
People ::Guyana
772,298
country comparison to the world: 160
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 (July 2009 est.)
0-14 years: 25.7% (male 101,319/female 97,505)
15-64 years: 68.7% (male 268,058/female 262,595)
65 years and over: 5.5% (male 17,938/female 24,883) (2009 est.)
total: 28.7 years
male: 28.2 years
female: 29.2 years (2009 est.)
0.181% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
17.56 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
8.31 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
-7.44 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
urban population: 28% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 29.65 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 76
male: 33.02 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 26.11 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 66.68 years
country comparison to the world: 157
male: 64.09 years
female: 69.4 years (2009 est.)
2.03 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
2.5% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
13,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
fewer than 1,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
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)
Hindu 28.4%, Pentecostal 16.9%, Roman Catholic 8.1%, Anglican 6.9%, Seventh Day Adventist 5%, Methodist 1.7%, Jehovah Witness 1.1%, other Christian 17.7%, Muslim 7.2%, other 4.3%, none 4.3% (2002 census)
English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Urdu
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 98.8%
male: 99.1%
female: 98.5% (2003 est.)
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2005)
8.3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 13
Government ::Guyana
conventional long form: Cooperative Republic of Guyana
conventional short form: Guyana
former: British Guiana
republic
name: Georgetown
geographic coordinates: 6 48 N, 58 10 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
based on English common law with certain admixtures of Roman-Dutch law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: President Bharrat JAGDEO (since 11 August 1999); note - assumed presidency after resignation of President Janet JAGAN and was reelected in 2001, and again in 2006
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
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 28 August 2006 (next to be held by August 2011); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: President Bharrat JAGDEO reelected; percent of vote 54.6%
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; to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 28 August 2006 (next to be held by August 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - PPP/C 54.6%, PNC/R 34%, AFC 8.1%, other 3.3%; seats by party - PPP/C 36, PNC/R 22, AFC 5, other 2
Supreme Court of Judicature, consisting of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, with right of final appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
Alliance for Change or AFC [Raphael TROTMAN and Khemraj RAMJATTAN]; Guyana Action Party or GAP [Paul HARDY]; Justice for All Party [C.N. SHARMA]; People's National Congress/Reform or PNC/R [Robert Herman Orlando CORBIN]; People's Progressive Party/Civic or PPP/C [Bharrat JAGDEO]; Rise, Organize, and Rebuild or ROAR [Ravi DEV]; The United Force or TUF [Manzoor NADIR]; The Unity Party [Joey JAGAN]; Vision Guyana [Peter RAMSAROOP]; Working People's Alliance or WPA [Rupert ROOPNARAINE]
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
ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (subscriber), ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIC, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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 John Melvin JONES
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
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. Economic recovery since the 2005 flood-related contraction has been buoyed by increases in remittances and foreign direct investment in the sugar and rice industries as well as the mining sector. The bauxite mining sector should benefit in the near term from restructuring and partial privatization, and the state-owned sugar industry will conduct efficiency increasing modernizations. Export earnings from agriculture and mining have remained flat as rising commodity prices have offset declining production, while the import bill has risen, driven by higher energy costs. Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labor and a deficient infrastructure. The government is 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 nearly 48% 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. 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.
$2.966 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
$2.88 billion (2007 est.)
$2.732 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$1.13 billion (2008 est.)
3% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
5.4% (2007 est.)
5.1% (2006 est.)
$3,800 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
$3,700 (2007 est.)
$3,600 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 24.9%
industry: 24.9%
services: 50.2% (2008 est.)
333,900 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
11% (2007)
country comparison to the world: 130
NA%
lowest 10%: 1.3%
highest 10%: 33.8% (1999)
43.2 (1999)
country comparison to the world: 50
35.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
revenues: $488.7 million
expenditures: $552.6 million (2008 est.)
8.3% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
12.3% (2007 est.)
6.75% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 66
6.5% (31 December 2007)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 48
14.61% (31 December 2007)
$342.3 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 147
$315.2 million (31 December 2007)
$817.6 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 127
$728.8 million (31 December 2007)
$826.4 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 138
$739.3 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 105
$262.4 million (31 December 2007)
$187.4 million (31 December 2006)
sugarcane, rice, shrimp, fish, edible oils; beef, pork, poultry
bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining
2.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
821 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
667 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
11,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
10,550 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 70
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
$-333 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
$-165.7 million (2007 est.)
$800 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
$674.9 million (2007 est.)
sugar, gold, bauxite, alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber
Canada 21.6%, US 15.8%, UK 12.7%, Netherlands 7.5%, Portugal 4.9%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.9% (2008)
$1.299 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
$982.9 million (2007 est.)
manufactures, machinery, petroleum, food
US 23.7%, Trinidad and Tobago 22.5%, Finland 7.8%, Cuba 6.2%, China 5.2% (2008)
$355.9 million (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
$313 million (31 December 2007 est.)
$804.3 million (30 September 2008)
country comparison to the world: 156
$1.2 billion (2002)
Guyanese dollars (GYD) per US dollar - 203.86 (2008 est.), 201.89 (2007), 200.28 (2006), 200.79 (2005), 198.31 (2004)
Communications ::Guyana
125,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 140
281,400 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 168
general assessment: fair system for long-distance service
domestic: microwave radio relay network for trunk lines; fixed-line teledensity is about 15 per 100 persons; many areas still lack fixed-line telephone services; mobile-cellular teledensity reached 37 per 100 persons in 2005
international: country code - 592; tropospheric scatter to Trinidad; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
AM 3, FM 3, shortwave 1 (1998)
3 (1 public station; 2 private stations which relay US satellite services) (1997)
.gy
7,116 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 129
205,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 134
Transportation ::Guyana
99 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 60
total: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 7 (2009)
total: 89
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m: 74 (2009)
total: 7,970 km
country comparison to the world: 142
paved: 590 km
unpaved: 7,380 km (2000)
330 km
country comparison to the world: 91
note: Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo rivers are navigable by oceangoing vessels for 150 km, 100 km, and 80 km respectively (2008)
total: 8
country comparison to the world: 124
by type: cargo 6, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 1
registered in other countries: 3 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, unknown 1) (2008)
Georgetown
Military ::Guyana
Guyana Defense Force: Army (includes Coast Guard, Air Corps) (2008)
18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
males age 16-49: 220,797 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 150,307
females age 16-49: 144,622 (2009 est.)
male: 6,625
female: 6,365 (2009 est.)
1.8% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 90
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 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 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (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, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor; most trafficking appears to take place in remote mining camps in the country's interior; some women and girls are trafficked from northern Brazil; reporting from other nations suggests Guyanese women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation to neighboring countries and Guyanese men and boys are subject to labor exploitation in construction and agriculture; trafficking victims from Suriname, Brazil, and Venezuela transit Guyana en route to Caribbean destinations
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - for a second consecutive year, Guyana is on the Tier 2 Watch List for failing to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking, particularly in the area of law enforcement actions against trafficking offenders; the government has yet to produce an anti-trafficking conviction under the comprehensive Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act, which became law in 2005; the government operates no shelters for trafficking victims, but did include limited funding for anti-trafficking NGOs in its 2008 budget; the government did not make any effort to reduce demand for commercial sex acts during 2007 (2008)
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