In the week starting March 7 2022, I was in Guyana, South America, to discuss strategies for oil-led development in the 21st century. I had a very engaging exchange with the business community, scholars, students, the media, policymakers and development partners on the opportunities and challenges that newfound oil/gas resources present to Guyana. As you know, the country is one of the world’s “youngest” oil producers experiencing a major oil boom.
I presented a paper entitled, “Beyond Revenue Management: Principles for Oil-Led Development in the 21st Century”.
My key message: Guyana must focus beyond transparent revenue management to proactively focus on economic diversification and structural transformation. Few countries have done this well, unfortunately. The good news, however, is that Guyana can draw lessons from the successes and failures of other oil-rich countries around the world, *but* in doing so it should seek to forge its own path. Our role as “international experts” is not to prescribe what countries like Guyana should/shouldn’t do, but to provide frameworks to empower citizens/decision-makers arrive at solutions that work for their specific context. “Copy and paste” policy prescriptions hardly work anywhere.
I had several enlightening conversations around investment priories, the pros/cons of building domestic refining capacity, sectoral strategies, labor market dynamics, local content and private sector development, the stabilisation vs. savings function of the sovereign wealth fund and to tie all these together, the political coherence and societal consensus on a long-term development strategy using hydrocarbons wealth as a springboard.
Guyana adds to but also challenges, in important ways, our prevailing frameworks for how countries can manage their natural resource wealth. I have learnt so much myself in these past couple of days just by being on the ground. More to come in this space…
Many thanks to my hosts at the Centre for Local Business Development Guyana and DAI Global for facilitating this engagement and of course to the wonderful people of Guyana for such a warm reception.
Here are links to the media coverage of the visit:
This is from News Room Guyana