The largest commercial lender to work with Guyana’s agricultural sector to date, Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) has also built a strong green loans program to help businesses throughout the country.
Like all GBTI loans, green loans center on creating trusted partnerships between the bank’s experienced credit advisors and clients throughout the business community.
A forward-looking loan policy
Financing through GBTI green loans is available for businesses interested in the following:
- Alternative energy projects
- The development of hybrid motor vehicles
- Water-treatment, filtration, and recycling products
- Energy-saving appliances
- Low-carbon emission agriculture projects such as aquaculture
The many benefits of a GBTI loan include competitive interest rates, discounts on certain lending services, and a quick turnaround for the approval process. Additionally, certain GBTI loans are eligible for one- to six-month moratoriums on installment payments.
The bank’s commitment to helping build a strong green infrastructure is in keeping with that of the Guyanese government, which has placed the development of a green economy at the heart of its infrastructure planning.
A new vision for sustainable growth
In 2019 President David Granger announced the launch of the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) Vision 2040, a 20-year strategic planning document that encapsulates the steps Guyana will take toward creating an inclusive green economy and social system within its borders.
This vision of the country’s development focuses on protecting precious environmental resources and improving opportunities for all citizens to attain education, security, and prosperity within a just and equitable society.
Granger’s remarks upon presenting the document to the public are instructive for understanding Guyana’s commitment to large-scale changes. He noted that climate change has become an incontestable reality for every nation on earth, with none capable of avoiding its deleterious effects.
Granger said that the time has come for Guyana to seize the moment, allowing the country to get ahead of the problem and begin to solve generational challenges. Its geography, in particular, presents several obstacles, including cycles of flood and drought in the hinterlands, as well as regular coastal flooding. Guyanese industry, the president noted, is already beginning to experience success in addressing issues of air and water quality.
The priorities of the GSDS concentrate on the diversification and transformation of the nation’s economy, investment in people through wide-ranging educational programs and job skills development, prudent management and effective oversight of the use of natural resources, and a balance between economic development and conservation for the benefit of everyone.
The benefits of international participation
As part of its commitment to creating a strong green economy, Guyana became a member of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy, or PAGE, in 2017. A project of the United Nations, PAGE brings together the resources of five UN agencies concerned with labor, environment, industry, and research to support countries working toward building green, sustainable, and inclusive economies.
PAGE was developed in response to Rio+ 20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. PAGE’s ultimate goal is to assist countries with reforming their economic policies regarding sustainability and developing business collaborations and models that will promote increased investment in green technologies and untapped resources of human potential.
Guyana expects that its ongoing participation in PAGE will continue to inform the roll-out of its Green State Development Strategy over the coming decades. In fact, Guyana’s participation in sustainability efforts such as climate resilience and low-carbon initiatives has influenced much of the GSDS document.
Maintaining sustainability for the long term
The GSDS document additionally leverages the provisions of the 2019 Natural Resource Fund Act to finance its program of sustainable development. President Granger has emphasized that revenues from Guyana’s rapidly developing oil and natural gas industry are slated for wise investments designed to help the country avoid “Dutch disease.” This is the problem that can result when a country’s currency value spikes amid sudden success in one industry, paradoxically harming other sectors of the economy and bringing on a concomitant crash.
In 2019 the International Monetary Fund noted that Guyana could potentially realize economic growth of about 86 percent in 2020, which could put it in first place worldwide in terms of economic expansion (largely due to the discovery of its first commercially viable oil and gas deposits in 2015).
While global economic shifts associated with the coronavirus pandemic have made this outcome more problematic, Guyana’s status as a new petroleum exporter has raised its overall economic prospects. The country, with a population of under 800,000 people, is estimated to possess the world’s highest amount of oil reserves per capita—3,900 barrels per person in comparison to Saudi Arabia’s 1,900.
Along with its approach to prudent investment strategies amid a rocky world economy, Guyana is focusing on teaching its younger generations about environmental issues. Eventually, the government hopes, they will develop the knowledge that will help the entire country make its dream of prosperity and sustainability a reality.