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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

Map of Guyana

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Guyana Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
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, Jane 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 Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Suriname and Venezuela
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
5 00 N, 59 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
South America
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 214,970 sq km
land: 196,850 sq km
water: 18,120 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Idaho
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,949 km
border countries: Brazil 1,606 km, Suriname 600 km, Venezuela 743 km
Definition Field Listing
459 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin
Definition Field Listing
tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to August, November to January)
Definition Field Listing
mostly rolling highlands; low coastal plain; savanna in south
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Roraima 2,835 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
bauxite, gold, diamonds, hardwood timber, shrimp, fish
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 2.23%
permanent crops: 0.14%
other: 97.63% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
1,500 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
flash floods are a constant threat during rainy seasons
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
water pollution from sewage and agricultural and industrial chemicals; deforestation
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
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
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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 Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 26.2% (male 102,551/female 98,772)
15-64 years: 68.6% (male 265,193/female 260,892)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 17,043/female 22,794) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 27.4 years
male: 26.9 years
female: 27.9 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.25% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.28 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.28 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-7.49 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 32.19 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 35.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 28.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 65.86 years
male: 63.21 years
female: 68.65 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.04 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.5% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,100 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Guyanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Guyanese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
East Indian 50%, black 36%, Amerindian 7%, white, Chinese, and mixed 7%
Definition Field Listing
Christian 50%, Hindu 35%, Muslim 10%, other 5%
Definition Field Listing
English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 98.8%
male: 99.1%
female: 98.5% (2003 est.)
   Government    Guyana Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Cooperative Republic of Guyana
conventional short form: Guyana
former: British Guiana
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
name: Georgetown
geographic coordinates: 6 48 N, 58 10 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
26 May 1966 (from UK)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Republic Day, 23 February (1970)
Definition Field Listing
6 October 1980
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on English common law with certain admixtures of Roman-Dutch law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Bharrat JAGDEO (since 11 August 1999); note - assumed presidency after resignation of President Janet JAGAN and 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%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral National Assembly (65 members elected by popular vote, also not more than four non-elected non-voting ministers and two non-elected non-voting parliamentary secretaries appointed by the president; members 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
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court of Judicature, consisting of the High Court and the Judicial Court of Appeal, with right of final appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Amerindian People's Association; Guyana Citizens Initiative; Guyana Bar Association; Guyana Human Rights Association; Guyana Public Service Union or GPSU; Private Sector Commission; Trades Union Congress
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
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
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador David M. ROBINSON
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
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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 Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
The Guyanese economy exhibited moderate economic growth in 2001-02, based on expansion in the agricultural and mining sectors, a more favorable atmosphere for business initiatives, a more realistic exchange rate, fairly low inflation, and the continued support of international organizations. 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. The InterAmerican Development Bank in November 2006 canceled Guyana's nearly $400 million debt with the Bank. The bauxite mining sector should benefit in the near term from restructuring and partial privatization. Export earnings from agriculture and mining have fallen sharply, while the import bill has risen, driven by higher energy prices. Guyana's entrance into the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) in January 2006 will broaden the country's export market, primarily in the raw materials sector.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.62 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$826.6 million (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.2% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$4,700 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 35.5%
industry: 19.3%
services: 45.2% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
418,000 (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.1% (understated) (2000)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
31.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $359.9 million
expenditures: $430.3 million; including capital expenditures of $93.4 million (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
sugarcane, rice, wheat, vegetable oils; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish, shrimp
Definition Field Listing
bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
818.8 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
761.5 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11,200 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day (2001)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-84.3 million (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$621.6 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
sugar, gold, bauxite/alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Canada 18.9%, US 18.9%, UK 11.8%, Portugal 8.1%, Jamaica 5.3%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.2% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$706.9 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
manufactures, machinery, petroleum, food
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 26.7%, Trinidad and Tobago 23.9%, Cuba 6.6%, UK 5%, China 4.1% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$294.9 million (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.2 billion (2002)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$84 million (1995), Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) $253 million (1997)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Guyanese dollar (GYD)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Guyanese dollars per US dollar - 200.281 (2006), 200.79 (2005), 198.31 (2004), 193.88 (2003), 190.67 (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Guyana Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
110,100 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
281,400 (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: fair system for long-distance service
domestic: microwave radio relay network for trunk lines
international: country code - 592; tropospheric scatter to Trinidad; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 3, FM 3, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
3 (one public station; two private stations which relay US satellite services) (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,046 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
160,000 (2005)
   Transportation    Guyana Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
90 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
under 914 m: 6 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 81
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m: 65 (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 187 km
standard gauge: 139 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 48 km 0.914-m gauge
note: all dedicated to ore transport (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 7,970 km
paved: 590 km
unpaved: 7,380 km (1999)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo rivers are navigable by oceangoing vessels for 150 km, 100 km, and 80 km respectively (2005)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 7 ships (1000 GRT or over) 12,461 GRT/15,155 DWT
by type: cargo 5, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Germany 1)
registered in other countries: 4 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, unknown 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
   Military    Guyana Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Guyana Defense Force: Ground Forces, Coast Guard, Air Corps (2006)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 206,098 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 137,964 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.9% (2003 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Guyana Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
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
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
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

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

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