Published:Wednesday | October 25, 2023 | 12:07 AM
The International Monetary Fund, IMF, in its latest economic outlook for the Western Hemisphere, says Guyana will continue to experience robust economic expansion, even as other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean face less favourable growth conditions and brace for a slowdown in their productive sectors.
Guyana is expected to grow its economy by 38.4 per cent this year and 26.6 per cent in 2024.
The debt taken on by the government is projected to be about 29.9 per cent of GDP, while a 7.2 per cent inflation rate is also expected.
This debt refers to all external financial obligations, including loans taken while inflation, generally, is the rate of price increases over a period of time.
Guyana is the only country within the region projected to grow in double digits. St Vincent & the Grenadines follows with a forecast at 6.2 per cent growth, and Panama 6.0 per cent.
The entire Latin America and Caribbean region is projected to grow by 2.3 per cent. The non-tourism-dependent countries in the Caribbean – Haiti, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago – are projected to grow by 13.6 per cent as a bloc.
The IMF also projects a 1.6 per cent growth rate for South America and a 3.8 per cent for the bloc of countries encompassing Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic.
Guyana’s expansion continues to be fuelled by massive oil finds.
Growth among Caribbean commodity exporters will slow down in 2023 and further in 2024 “as these countries face less favourable external conditions”, the IMF said. However, “Guyana will continue to grow at a robust pace following the discovery of sizeable oil reserves,” the IMF said.
The slowdown in other countries has been attributed to a weaker external environment, severe weather conditions, and a softening demand for tourism services.
The IMF’s full-year 2023 forecast is more optimistic than the Guyana government’s own expectations.
In September, President Dr Irfaan Ali reported that Guyana recorded 59.5 per cent economic growth rate at the half-year mark, with the non-oil economy growing by 12.3 per cent.
Based on the midyear report, the government projects that real GDP growth for the entire 2023 will be 28.2 per cent, while non-oil growth alone will be 9.3 per cent.