To foster market diversification and expand international business, Virgin Islands leaders will conduct a trade mission to Guyana this month, according to Deputy Premier Lorna Smith.

“Guyana has emerged as an economic powerhouse, achieving an impressive overall economic growth rate of 62.3 percent in 2022,” Ms. Smith said during a House of Assembly meeting last Thursday.

“This exceptional growth can be primarily attributed to the expansion of the oil and gas sector, which experienced a remarkable growth rate of 124.8 percent. Consequently, Guyana has garnered global attention and is now recognised as the most promising investment destination in the Western Hemisphere.”

Ms. Smith added that the VI is well-positioned to contribute to the “flourishing economic activity” in the country. She also noted a significant “cultural connection” between the territory and Guyana, since Guyanese form the third largest immigrant group in the VI.

Guyana ‘gap’

Though Guyana has made significant economic achievements in recent years — including its ranking by the International Monetary Fund as the country with second-highest oil reserves per capita — its infrastructure and technological advancements are lagging behind “those of more developed nations in the region by nearly 30 years,” according to Ms. Smith, who is the minister of financial services, labour and trade.

“This gap, therefore, provides an opportunity for businesses to contribute to and benefit from Guyana’s rapid transformation driven by augmented budget and flourishing economy,” she said. “The [territory’s] proposed trade mission to Guyana aims to seize these unique opportunities and establish stronger ties with Guyana, identify mutual growth opportunities, and foster collaborative and prosperous relationships.”

The minister added that the VI can “expand its reach” in the financial services industry and position itself as an “ideal facilitator” of cross-border trade and investment.