Guyana is bucking the trend of the rest of the world’s economy in that it is increasing with a forecast growth of 53 percent this year.
The remote, jungle-covered nation will enjoy by far the world’s fastest expansion, and will be the only country in the Americas to see any growth at all in 2020, the International Monetary Fund said in its World Economic Outlook published Tuesday.
That’s despite a warning from the US and its allies that Guyana risks international isolation over its botched presidential election last month and a collapse in oil prices.
The country is in the process of becoming a major oil producer, as it starts to tap massive offshore fields which are estimated to hold eight billion barrels of crude. Energy companies including Exxon Mobil Corp, Hess Corporation, China’s CNOOC Ltd. and Tullow Oil Plc have invested in the country.
The coronavirus pandemic, the slump in oil prices and Guyana’s own political crisis have still taken a partial toll on the country’s outlook. The IMF forecast 2020 growth of 86 percent last October.
The first results in Guyana’s March 2 elections handed a victory to the incumbent, President David Granger. Representatives from the US, UK, European Union and Canada said the original vote count wasn’t transparent or credible, and that a president sworn in wouldn’t be legitimate.
A draft plan has been presented which proposes a period of five months for a vote recount. The economy is likely to outperform anyway despite the political noise, as Exxon has forecast that Guyana will produce at least 750,000 barrels of oil a day by 2025, from zero just a few months ago.