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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, Janet JAGAN, became president but resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was reelected in 2001 and again in 2006. Donald RAMOTAR was elected president in 2011.


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Economy

Economy - overview
The Guyanese economy exhibited moderate economic growth in recent years and is based largely on agriculture and extractive industries. The economy is heavily dependent upon the export of six commodities - sugar, gold, bauxite, shrimp, timber, and rice - which represent nearly 60% of the country's GDP and are highly susceptible to adverse weather conditions and fluctuations in commodity prices. Guyana''s entrance into the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) in January 2006 has broadened the country''s export market, primarily in the raw materials sector. Guyana has experienced positive growth almost every year over the past decade. Inflation has been kept under control. Recent years have seen the Government''s stock of debt reduced significantly - with external debt now less than half of what it was in the early 1990s. Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labor and a deficient infrastructure. Despite recent improvements, the government is still juggling a sizable external debt against the urgent need for expanded public investment. In March 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank, Guyana''s principal donor, canceled Guyana''s nearly $470 million debt, equivalent to 21% of GDP, which along with other Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt forgiveness brought the debt-to-GDP ratio down from 183% in 2006 to 120% in 2007. Guyana became heavily indebted as a result of the inward-looking, state-led development model pursued in the 1970s and 1980s. Growth slowed in 2009 as a result of the world recession, but picked up in 2010-11. The slowdown in the domestic economy and lower import costs helped to narrow the country''s current account deficit, despite generally lower earnings from exports.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 161
$5.857 billion (2011 est.)
$5.62 billion (2010 est.)
$5.386 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$2.48 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 89
4.2% (2011 est.)
4.4% (2010 est.)
3.3% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 129
$7,600 (2011 est.)
$7,300 (2010 est.)
$7,000 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 18.5%
Industry 30.6%
Services 50.9% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 164
313,100 (2009 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture NA%
Industry NA%
Services NA%

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 121
11% (2007)

Population below poverty line
35% (2006)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 1.3%
Highest 10% 33.8% (1999)

Distribution of family income - gini index World Ranking: 44
44.6 (2007)
43.2 (1999)

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 39
25.4% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget
Revenues $633 million
Expenditures $707.5 million (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 124
25.5% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 100
-3% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 40
62.1% of GDP (2011 est.)
61.1% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 30
2.2% (2011 est.)
4.5% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate World Ranking: 81
5.5% (31 December 2011 est.)
4.25% (31 December 2010 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 46
14.45% (31 December 2011 est.)
14.54% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 158
$557.5 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$397.2 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 152
$1.696 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.296 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 158
$1.003 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$922.6 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares World Ranking: 111
$440.4 million (31 December 2011)
$339.8 million (31 December 2010)
$287 million (31 December 2009)

Agriculture - products
Sugarcane, rice, edible oils; beef, pork, poultry; shrimp, fish

Industries
Bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 144
0.3% (2010)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 149
820 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 151
688 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 180
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 151
10,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 162
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 140
10,480 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 140
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 191
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 186
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 111
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 202
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 185
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 86
-$233.7 million (2011 est.)
-$159.7 million (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 153
$1.178 billion (2011 est.)
$884.5 million (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Sugar, gold, bauxite, alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber

Exports - partners
Canada 29%, US 28.6%, UK 4.9%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.3%, Jamaica 4.3% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 169
$1.456 billion (2011 est.)
$1.299 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Manufactures, machinery, petroleum, food

Imports - partners
US 23.1%, Trinidad and Tobago 21.7%, China 9%, Cuba 6% (2011)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 137
$807.8 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$782.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external World Ranking: 149
$1.234 billion (31 December 2010)
$804.3 million (30 September 2008)

Exchange rates
Guyanese dollars (GYD) per US dollar -
204.02 (2011 est.)
203.64 (2010 est.)
203.95 (2009)
203.86 (2008)
201.89 (2007)

Fiscal year
Calendar year


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Guyana (Georgetown):


GPS points from Guyana (Georgetown)

Neville East Berbice-corentyne Region

Dowbarrawau River Upper Takutu-upper Essequibo Region

Marybyacrew Cliffs Cuyuni-mazaruni Region

Quineballi Demerara-mahaica Region

White River Pomeroon-supenaam Region

Farm Demerara-mahaica Region

Chi-chi Fall Cuyuni-mazaruni Region

Barabara Landing Cuyuni-mazaruni Region




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