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Guyana is located on South America’s North Atlantic coast, bordering Venezuela, Suriname, and Brazil, and is the only English-speaking country on the continent. Guyana became an oil producing nation in 2019 and, with a population of roughly 800,000, is poised to dramatically increase its per capita wealth. While GDP per capita is skyrocketing thanks to oil production and 2022 GDP growth of 62 percent, but many still live under the poverty line. Guyana’s economy is projected to grow by 37 percent in 2023 alongside a 6.6 percent inflation rate, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Guyana’s offshore oil development is poised to deliver over 500,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) by the end of 2023 with expectations that the country will produce 1.2 million bpd by 2027.

A consortium with a U.S. company as a majority shareholder is developing Guyana’s over 11 billion barrels of offshore oil and gas deposits. Industry experts expect Guyana’s total recoverable oil deposits to increase as exploration activities expand to other offshore blocks, which remain unexplored and for which an auction was expected in 2023. Guyana’s Natural Resource Fund (NRF) is anticipated to exceed $2 billion by end of 2023. Guyana is quickly transforming into a regional destination for international investment as it seeks to spend its oil revenues on transformational change and improved services for its people. Guyana’s foreign direct investments (FDI) have seen a 47% or $629 million growth in the first six months of 2022 to nearly $2 billion. Guyana welcomes U.S. investors.

Attempts to diversify the economy away from oil and gas have been slow to produce results. Local content requirements for the oil and gas sector were legislated in 2022, and oil and gas accounts for more than 50 percent of the total GDP. Guyana’s export composition remains largely dependent on natural resources. To diversify the economy away from oil and gas, the GoG is offering incentives for investment in the agriculture, business support services, health, information technology manufacturing and energy sectors, especially in outlying regions, through the Guyana Office for Investment, or GOINVEST. At the same time, processes including the government tender process are slow and often opaque, with some tenders expiring and being re-issued after a year passes without decision. Some major tenders have seen increased transparency, with international experts brought in to assess bidder qualifications.

Guyana has taken steps to address climate change through the adoption of its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which seeks to create financial incentives for maintaining the country’s intact forests covering 84 percent of the landmass, watersheds, and unique biodiversity. Guyana sold 30 percent of its carbon credits in 2022 and remains open to the sale of the remaining carbon credits as it utilizes the funds to preserve its forests.

The GoG’s 2023 priorities include significant infrastructure investments, energy developments, education, bolstering healthcare services, diversifying, and expanding agriculture sector, and improving the business climate. Many businesses report their key challenges to doing business in Guyana include increasing crime, the high cost of electricity, unclear interpretation of the law or lengthy delays at customs, contentious tax issues, and access to land. However, the GoG has taken steps to address the challenges including the Gas to Energy project to reduce the cost of electricity and is developing a single window for processing housing and business permits.

The majority of Guyana’s population resides on the coastal area, including much of the population residing under sea level in locations at high risk for flooding. In 2022, Guyana continues to feel the pain from the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine which resulted in higher food and energy prices.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 85 of 180
Global Innovation Index N/A N/A
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) N/A N/A
World Bank GNI per capita 2021 USD 9,410

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

The GoG is open to investment in all sectors of the economy and views foreign direct investment (FDI) as critical for growing and diversifying the Guyanese economy. Guyanese law does not discriminate against foreign investors. Foreigners can participate in Guyana’s local stock market, but it has few listed companies and is traded once weekly. The GoG prioritizes investments in the following sectors: agriculture, agro-processing, light manufacturing, renewable energy, tourism and information and communications technology (ICT). The Guyana Office for Investment (GOINVEST) is the GoG’s primary vehicle for promoting FDI opportunities and assisting foreign corporations with their business registrations and applying for tax concessions. Companies and investors are encouraged to do their due diligence and have robust business plans completed before approaching GOINVEST. The GoG passed the Local Content Act (LCA) on December 31, 2021, which establishes baseline requirements for foreign and local firms operating in the country’s oil and gas sector to hire Guyanese and source local materials. The legislation lists local quotas for 40 business services and material inputs, which must come from Guyanese businesses. The targets range from near total local sourcing (90 to 100 percent) for services like ground transportation of personnel, local accounting and legal services, and pest control services to lower levels (between five to 25 percent) for more technical items like dredging services, engineering and machining, borehole testing, environmental services and studies, and aviation support services.  The GoG plans to expand this initial list of services and materials as local capacity increases, in which case foreign firms may be required to enter into partnerships with local firms to comply with the LCA. Some local firms involved in joint ventures or subcontract relationships with foreign companies have expressed concerns on capability of local partners and the likelihood of a stronger LCA, which could delay their operations and create conditions for undue influence and rent seeking behavior.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Guyana’s constitution protects the rights of foreigners to own property in Guyana. Foreign and domestic firms possess the right to establish and own business enterprises and engage in all forms of commerce, except for some oil and gas services which are now legally protected under the LCA. Guyana’s investment Act of 2004 provides legal protection for investment and outlines that there shall be no discrimination between foreign and domestic investors. Additionally, foreign investors can participate in Guyana’s stock market.

Private entities are governed by the 1991 Companies Act (amended in 1995) under which they have the right to establish business enterprises and are free to acquire or dispose of interest in accordance with the law. Some key sectors like oil and gas, aviation, forestry, banking, mining, and tourism are heavily regulated and require special licensing and may have limits on foreign ownership. The process to obtain licenses can be time consuming and may in some instances require ministerial approval.

The LCA significantly increased the ownership criteria for a company operating in, or servicing the oil sector, to be considered Guyanese as: Guyanese nationals having at least 51 percent voting rights, holding at least 75 percent of executive and senior management positions within the company, and at least 90 percent non-managerial staff positions. As of April 2023, these limits on foreign control and ownership only apply to the initial schedule of local companies outlined in the 2021 LCA. However, it is likely that the initial schedule may change later in 2023.

The GoG also prohibits foreign ownership of small-and-medium-scale mining (ASM) concessions. Foreign investors interested in participating in the industry at those levels may establish joint ventures with Guyanese nationals, under which the two parties agree to jointly develop a mining property. However, this type of relationship can carry a high level of risk because arrangements are governed only by private contracts and the sector’s regulatory agency, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), offers little recourse for ASM disputes. The U.S. Embassy strongly encourages investors to thoroughly conduct due diligence when exploring business opportunities.

The GoG maintains an investment screening mechanism through GOINVEST. Under this mechanism, investment agreements are prepared by GOINVEST, followed by a review by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), and approval by the Minister of Finance ultimately approves the investment agreement, pending approval by the GRA. Industry specific investments can be subject to approval by the relevant ministries, like the recently established Local Content Secretariat within the Ministry of Natural Resources, which now approves all oil and gas related business operations.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

Government policy focuses on attracting inward FDI. The GoG applies national treatment to all economic activities, except for certain oil and gas and mining operations. The World Trade Organization (WTO) published its most recent trade policy review of Guyana on March 2, 2022, in which it encouraged the GoG to invest in infrastructure and human capital development and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The most recent report reiterated prior recommendations for the GoG to increase transparency in government procurement and modernize the government’s treatment of intellectual property rights. Business support organizations report that Guyana is a favorable enabling investment environment. However, collateral requirements and the absence a developed stock market remains a hurdle for the nation’s development.

World Trade Organization is available at the following link: 

Business Facilitation

The GoG business facilitation efforts focus primarily on investor services through its investment promotion agency. All companies operating in Guyana must physically register with the Registrar of Companies, there is no online platform. Registration fees are lower for companies incorporated in Guyana than those incorporated abroad. Locally incorporated companies are subjected to a flat fee of approximately $300 and a company incorporated abroad is subject to a fee of approximately $400. Depending on the type of business, registration may take three weeks or more. Newly registered businesses are encouraged to immediately apply for a tax identification number (TIN) from the GRA. To learn more on the requirements for business registration please visit the deeds and commercial registry website: .

If a company employs Guyanese workers, the company must demonstrate compliance with the National Insurance Scheme (social security). Businesses in the sectors requiring specific licenses, such as oil and gas, mining, telecommunications, forestry, and banking must obtain operation licenses from the relevant authorities before commencing operations. Additionally, for entities operating in the oil and gas sector desirous of a local content certificate this may take over two months. Guyana has six municipal authorities which also assess municipal taxes: Anna Regina, Corriverton, Georgetown, Linden, New Amsterdam, and Rose Hall.

GOINVEST advises the GoG on the formulation and implementation of national investment policies and provides facilitation services to foreign investors, particularly in completing administrative formalities, such as commercial registration and applications for land purchases or leases. Under the Status of Aliens Act, foreign and domestic investors have the same rights to purchase and lease land. However, the process to access licensing can be complex and many foreign companies have opted to partner with local companies which may assist with acquiring a license. The Investment Act specifies that there should be no discrimination between foreign and domestic private investors, or among foreign investors from different countries. The authorities maintain that foreign investors have equal access to opportunities arising from privatization of state-owned companies.


Guyana Deeds and Commercial Registry: 
Guyana Revenue Authority: 

Outward Investment

The GoG does not promote or incentivize outward investment. The GoG does not restrict domestic investors from investing abroad.

In 2021, Guyana repealed and replaced its existing sovereign wealth fund legislation, the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Act. The passage of the revised NRF, along with the appointment of a board of directors, paves the way for the GoG to invest a portion of its oil revenues and royalties in global markets. Guyana’s NRF is likely to surpass USD 2 billion by the end of 2023 and may open the way forward for outward investments made by the GoG abroad.

Guyana does not have a bilateral investment treaty with the United States. Guyana has bilateral investment treaties with the United Kingdom, Germany, Cuba, China, Switzerland, South Korea, and Indonesia. Double taxation treaties are in force with Canada (1987), the United Kingdom (1992), and CARICOM (1995). The United States and the GoG signed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in October 2016, and implementation began in June 2017.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

The GoG has a Guyana competition and consumer affairs commission which is guided by local laws to foster market-based competition. Additionally, public utilities like telecommunications are regulated by the public utilities commission.

Legal, regulatory, and accounting systems are consistent with international norms. Guyana is a commonwealth nation and embraces the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS), under which all publicly traded companies are legally required to publish their annual reports. Guyana is a democratic country, whose constitution mandates the separation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. In practice, however, many GoG processes are opaque and frequently cause confusion for investors and exporters. Regulations are developed through stakeholder consultations followed by parliamentary debate and eventual passage in Guyana’s National Assembly (parliament). While the GoG does not require companies to disclose environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, it actively encourages ESG through investment policies and the LCDS. Guyana’s laws are publicly available on the Ministry of Legal Affairs website. Publicly listed companies’ finances and debt obligations are relatively transparent, but Guyana’s accounting and auditing firms are severely limited in their capacity to conduct thorough audits that comply with international best practices. Oversight mechanisms for public finances include the national assembly and the Auditor General Office. Guyana has a public debt policy for public finances which guides the Ministry of Finance.

Guyana’s bureaucratic procedures are cumbersome, often involve multiple ministries that often have overlapping regulatory responsibilities and could potentially be resolved by an electronic single window which remains under development. Investors report having received conflicting messages from various officials, and difficulty determining where the authority for decision-making lies. An extraordinary number of issues continue to be resolved in the presidential cabinet, a process that is perceived by many – especially new investors or bidders – as opaque and slow.


Ministry of Legal Affairs: 

International Regulatory Considerations

Since joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, Guyana has complied with the rules for trade-related investment measures (TRIMs). Guyana is also a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and is working to harmonize its regulatory systems with the rest of the CARICOM member states. Guyana is a signatory to both the REDD+ and UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) initiatives to reduce emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation.

Guyana has laws governing intellectual property rights and patents. However, a lack of enforcement offers limits safeguards in practice and allows for the relatively uninhibited distribution and sale of illegally obtained content.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Guyana’s constitution is rooted in the separation of powers and Guyana’s legal system combines civil and common laws. Guyana’s judicial system operates independently from the executive branch. The Caribbean Court of Justice, located in Trinidad and Tobago, is Guyana’s highest court. Registered companies are governed by the Companies Act and contracts are enforced by Guyanese courts or through a mediator. Guyana has a commercial court in its High Court, which has both original and appellate jurisdiction.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Legislation exists in Guyana to support foreign direct investment, but investors report lengthy delays in the enforcement of regulations (due to limited capacity in the judiciary). The objective of the Investment Act of 2004 and Industries and Aid and Encouragement Act of 1951 is to stimulate socio-economic development by attracting and facilitating foreign investment. Other relevant laws include: the Income Tax Act, the Customs Act, the Procurement Act of 2003, the Companies Act of 1991, the Securities Act of 1998, and the Small Business Act. Regulatory actions are still required for much of this legislation to be effectively implemented. The Companies Act provides special provisions for companies incorporated outside of Guyana called “external companies.” Most recently the 2021 Local Content Act mandates certain levels of Guyanese participation (in the form of workforce, company ownership, and sourcing of materials) in the oil and gas sector. Companies should direct their inquiries about regulations on FDI to GOINVEST.

Guyana has no known examples of executive interference in the court system that have adversely affected foreign investors. The judicial system is generally perceived to be slow and ineffective in enforcing legal contracts. Guyana’s local content legislation was passed on December 30, 2021. The legislation provides a sliding scale for minimum participation of Guyanese businesses for 40 business lines within the oil sector. This is subject to change as the schedule is likely to be revised in late 2023.



Competition and Antitrust Laws

The Competition Commission of Guyana was established under the 2006 Competition and Fair-Trading Act. The Competition and Fair-Trading act seek to promote, maintain, and encourage competition; to prohibit the prevention, restriction, or distortion of competition, the abuse of dominant trade positions; and to promote the welfare and interests of consumers. The Competition Commission and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC) is responsible for investigating complaints by agencies and consumers, eliminating anti-competitive agreements, and may institute or participate in proceedings before a Court of Law. For mergers and acquisitions within of the banking sector, the Bank of Guyana has ultimate oversight and approval.

Expropriation and Compensation

The government can expropriate property in the public interest under the 2001 Acquisition of Land for Public Purposes Act, although there are no recent cases of expropriation. Adequate legislation exists to promote and protect foreign investment. However, investors report delays in enforcement of local laws. Many reports view Guyana’s judicial system as being slow and ineffective in enforcing legal contracts. All companies are encouraged to conduct due diligence and seek appropriate legal counsel for any potential questions prior to doing business in Guyana.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Guyana is a party to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Convention). Additionally, Guyana has ratified the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958 New York Convention), which entered into force in December 2014.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Guyana does not have a bilateral investment treaty with the United States. Negotiations began in 1993 but broke down in 1995. Since then, the two countries have not conducted subsequent negotiations.

There is one ongoing investment dispute involving a U.S. telecommunications company, which previously held a legal monopoly in Guyana.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

International arbitration decisions are enforceable under the 1931 Arbitration Act of British Guiana, as amended in 1998. The Act is based on the Geneva Convention for the Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1927. The GoG enforces foreign awards by way of judicial decisions or action, and such awards must be in line with the policies and laws of Guyana.

According to many businesses, suspected corrupt practices and long delays make the courts an unattractive option for settling investment or contractual disputes, particularly for foreign investors unfamiliar with Guyana.

The GoG has set up a Commercial Court to expedite commercial disputes, but this court only has one judge presiding, and companies have reported that it is overwhelmed by a backlog of cases.  The Caribbean Court of Justice, based in Trinidad and Tobago, is Guyana’s court of final instance. In practice, most business disputes are settled by mediation which avoids a lengthy court battle and keeps costs low to both parties. Guyanese state-owned enterprises are not widely involved in investor disputes. To date, there are no complaints on the court process relating to judgments involving state owned enterprises.

Bankruptcy Regulations

The 1998 Guyana Insolvency Act provides for the facilitation of insolvency proceedings.  The 2004 Financial Institutions Act gives the Central Bank power to take temporary control of financial institutions in trouble.  This Act provides legal authority for the Central Bank to take a more proactive role in helping insolvent local banks.  A creditor is entitled to present a petition against any debtor being a trader if any act which would have been an act of insolvency if committed by a debtor.

Investment Incentives

Guyana’s industrial policy is articulated in the Low Carbon Development Strategy which supports the decarbonization and aims to foster innovation and decoupling from the reliance on fossil fuels. Guyana’s industrial policy is rooted in fostering food security, energy security and addressing infrastructure bottlenecks to enhance productivity to support a broad-based economy. Guyana prioritizes investments in agriculture and manufacturing as it seeks to advance and diversify its economic base. For publicly listed companies, dividends paid to shareholders are tax free and there are no capital gains taxes incurred. Firms interested in listing on the local stock exchange can contact the Guyana Securities Council. Guyana offers an array of incentives to foreign and domestic investors alike in the form of exemption from various taxes, tax holidays, accelerated depreciation rates, full and unrestricted repatriation of capital, profits, and dividends. The first point of contact in applying for tax concessions is GOINVEST. The GoG utilizes investment incentives to advance its broader policy goals, such as boosting research and development, or spurring growth in a particular region. Guyana offers fiscal incentives for clean energy investments including value added tax (VAT) and import duty exemptions for renewable energy equipment, and capital expenditure write off within two years. The GoG offers co-investing options for outlying regions.

Guyana prioritizes green energy generation under its Low Carbon Development Strategy and welcomes investment to reduce its carbon footprint. The GoG offers accelerated capital depreciation for clean energy projects and investors seeking to provide electricity may write to the Guyana Office for Investment or the Guyana Power and Light for guidance on possible feed-in tariffs and the sale of electricity.

Information on investment incentives in Guyana can be found on the following websites:

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

Guyana does not have free trade zones, however, the GoG is contemplating establishing free trade zones in Lethem, a Guyanese town on the Brazilian border that relies heavily on cross border commerce.

Guyana was the 53rd WTO member and first South American country to ratify the new Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).  The WTO Secretariat received Guyana’s instrument of acceptance on November 30, 2015.

The GoG has signaled intent to create an industrial zone in Wales appointing a Wales Development Authority which will likely host a developing industrial cluster.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

There are no data localization requirements in Guyana requiring foreign investors to establish or maintain a certain amount of data storage within the country. There is no visa requirement for U.S. citizens to visit Guyana. There are no government-imposed conditions to invest. However, if seeking tax concessions, an entity will be bound to an investment agreement.

A requirement to hire locally at least 80 percent of employees is applied equally to domestic and foreign investment projects. The GoG formalized this requirement in the oil and gas sector through with the passage of the LCA in 2021. There are no concrete plans to expand the LCA model to other industries at this time.

Although no explicit government policy exits regarding performance requirements, some are written into contracts with foreign investors and could include the requirement of a performance bond.  Some contracts require a certain minimum level of investment. Investors are not required to source locally, nor must they export a certain percentage of output.  Foreign exchange is not rationed in proportion to exports, nor are there any requirements for national ownership or technology transfer. Foreign IT providers are not required to turn over source code and/or provide access to encryption. The Telecommunication sector is regulated by the Public Utilities Commission and is subjected to regulatory, investigatory and enforcement as conferred onto the Commission by the Public Utilities Act.

There are no measures to prevent or restrict companies from transmitting customer or business data. The government agencies involved for local data storage include the National Data Management Authority and the Office of the Prime Minister.

Real Property

Property rights are enforced but it is often time consuming to determine the rightful owner of a particular plot of land. Property rights are enforced regardless of gender. In Guyana, cases of mortgages and liens exists on property. Ownership of property can be unclear even among government entities and potential investors are encouraged to have a local lawyer review any potential property purchase before executing the deal.

Guyana has a dual registry system of property rights with distinct requirements, processes, and enforcement mechanisms. The two types of registry systems are deeds (regulated by the Deeds and Commercial Registry) and title (regulated by the Land Registry) registries that operate in separate jurisdictions, which in theory helps avoid the problem of double entry and dual registration. However, the percentage of land in Guyana that lacks a clear land title is unknown and the absence of a digital registry with which to easily verify title further complicates the transfer of property rights. Locals and investors alike share similar struggles accessing land which can be processed either through the Central Housing and Planning Authority or the Guyana Lands and Surveys. Companies often complain about Guyana’s property rights being overly bureaucratic and complex, with opaque regulations that overlap and compete. Some report that this affects the proper allocation, enforcement, and effectiveness of property rights, as well as the efficiency of property-based markets, such as real estate and financial markets (especially primary ones, such as mortgage markets). As previously stated, the judicial system is generally perceived to be slow and ineffective in enforcing legal contracts. The GoG is the country’s largest landowner. Property can be reverted to squatters who have squatted for over 10 years, but in most instances the GoG repossesses the land. Frustration arises when investors who have been leased land do not proceed with planned investments, so an ability to secure financing and move forward with projects is key.

Intellectual Property Rights

Upon independence in 1966, Guyana adopted British law on intellectual property rights (IPR). Guyana’s relevant laws governing IPR are the 1956 Copyright Act and the 1973 Trademark Act and Patents and Design Act.  Local contacts report that numerous attempts to pass comprehensive reforms to this legislation have been unsuccessful. However, piecemeal modernization amendments contained in the 2005 Geographic Indication Act, the 2006 Competition and Fair-Trading Act, the 2000 Business Names Registration Act, and the 1999 Deeds Registry Authority Act have offered additional protection to local products and companies.  In the past year, there was no new IP laws enacted.

No modern legislation exists to protect the foreign-registered rights of investors. However, investors are encouraged to seek a lawyer to register and/or make an application for intellectual property. In the case of trademarks, registration is done through writing to the registrar, which once accepted after advertisement in the official gazette, the registrar inserts the particulars and issues a registration bearing the seal of the patent office. Guyana joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and acceded to the Berne and Paris Conventions in 1994. Guyana has not ratified a bilateral intellectual property rights agreement with the United States. The previous government drafted intellectual property rights legislation which has yet to be taken up in Parliament.

Many businesses report that the registration time for a patent or trademark may take more than six months. However, there is a lack of effective enforcement to protect intellectual property rights. Patent and trademark infringement are common, as is evident among local television broadcasts of pirated and rebroadcasted TV satellite signals. Guyana has seen seizures of counterfeited food items by the Guyana Foods and Drugs Analyst Department (GFDD). However, the GFDD is severely short staffed and unable to police all commerce effectively. Local news media sources report that piracy of foreign academic textbooks is common. Guyana’s laws have not been amended to fully conform to the requirements of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.  For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at .

Guyana is not mentioned in the United States Trade Representative’s 2022 Special 301 Report, nor is it named in its 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy.

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

The GoG is indifferent to foreign portfolio investment. Guyana has its own stock market, which is supervised by the Guyana Association of Securities Companies and Intermediaries (GASCI).  GASCI is a self-regulated organization. Dividends earned from the local stock exchange are tax free. Guyana’s market capitalization grew by 57 percent in 2022 following the growth rate of the economy. Despite growing interest in the local stock market, Guyana has not listed a new company for over a decade. The GoG may consider listing a foreign entity on the local market if it satisfies the Guyana Securities and Exchange Council. Foreign investors can access credit on the local market if they satisfy local banking requirements. Credit is allocated based on risk profile, creditworthiness and is available on market terms. The private sector has access to limited credit instruments though on the local market and new legislation could transform access to other financial instruments. The Central Bank respects IMF Article VIII regarding payments and transfers for international transactions.

Money and Banking System

Guyana relies heavily on cash payments for most financial transactions, but credit cards and mobile payment options are increasingly common. Banking services are widespread throughout urban areas, but penetration is significantly lower in rural areas. The GoG’s monetary policy remains accommodative, aimed at achieving price stability and controlling liquidity within the economy. The financial sector is regulated by the Bank of Guyana (BOG), the country’s central bank. The BOG is empowered under the 1995 Financial Institutions Act and the Bank of Guyana Act to regulate the financial sector. Under these regulations a bank operating in Guyana must maintain high levels of liquidity and a strong deposit and asset base. Approval from the BOG is required before operating in Guyana.

The BoG regularly performs stress tests to determine the vulnerability of licensed depository financial institutions (LDFIs). Licensed financial institutions in Guyana easily satisfy the 8 percent benchmark once they are 8 percent above the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 19.3 percent as of December 2022. Guyana’s banking stability index improved from 0.38 to 0.92 in the middle of 2022 attributed to improvements in asset quality and profitability of banks. Furthermore, the stock of non-performing loans improved to 6.1 percent from 10.2 percent at the end of June 2022.

As Guyana’s oil production rises the country’s financial account may become vulnerable to external shocks. However, vulnerabilities remain limited attributed to the concessional nature of public borrowing. Guyana’s foreign currency transactions as of mid-year 2022 fell by 7.2 percent. However, private sector credit grew by 7.5 percent with expansions across all sectors except for mining.

Guyana has six commercial banks. Foreign banks can provide domestic services or enter the market with a license from the BOG. There are no restrictions on a foreigner’s ability to establish a bank account. Furthermore, the country has two licensed investment banks. The GoG recognizes a need to improve access to finance for both the private sector and private citizens, with the current financial institutions seen as slow, overly cautious, and full of bureaucratic red tape.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

The Guyanese Dollar (GYD) is fully convertible and transferable, and generally stable in its value against the U.S. dollar. The Guyana dollar weighted mid-rate, relevant for official transactions, remained constant at GYD 208.50 as at half year 2022. Guyana employs a de jure float exchange rate. Investment-related funds are freely convertible to regularly traded currencies. However, foreign exchange transactions must be conducted through authorized foreign exchange dealers, “cambios,” or local banks.

No limits exist on inflows or repatriation of funds. However, regulations require that all persons entering and exiting Guyana declare all currency more than $10,000 to customs authorities at the port of entry. It is common practice for foreign investors to use subsidiaries outside of Guyana to handle earnings generated by exports.

Remittance Policies

The country’s financial system is fully liberalized and subject to market conditions. There is no required waiting period for the remittance of investment returns. There is no limit on the acquisition of foreign currency, although the government limits the amount that several state-owned firms may keep for their own purchases. Regulations on foreign currency denominated bank accounts in Guyana allow funds to be wired in and out of the country electronically without having to go through cumbersome exchange procedures. Foreign companies operating in Guyana have not reported experiencing government-induced difficulties in repatriating earnings in recent years.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

The Irfaan Ali led administration in 2021 repealed and replaced the 2019 Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Act to evolve the act towards having decentralized control over the fund and establishing a simple withdrawal schedule. Guyana’s NRF is held at the New York Fed. The fund earns interest from the New York Fed and is yet to make public an investment policy.

Guyana’s Natural Resource fund as of April 2023, held USD 1.67 billion and is projected to grow to just over 2 billion by end of 2023. Guyana’s NRF act includes guardrails to foster transparency and embraces the Santiago principles. Guyana is a member of the EITI but was suspended by the EITI for failure to submit its EITI report in a timely manner.

Guyana has ten state-owned enterprises (SOEs) including: National Industrial and Commercial Investments Ltd. (NICIL), Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO), MARDS Rice Complex Ltd., National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Guyana Power and Light (GPL), Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Guyana National Newspapers Ltd. (GNNL), Guyana National Shipping Corporation (GNSC) and Guyana National Printers Ltd. (GNPL).

The private sector competes with SOEs for market share, credit, and business opportunities. It is common for SOEs in Guyana to experience political interventions, driven by boards of directors filled with political appointees. Procurement on behalf of SOEs may be passed through the National Procurement and Tender Administration or handled directly by the SOE.  Agricultural SOEs export products like GUYSUCO which exports sugar to the U.S. SOEs, rarely invest in the U.S.

The Public Corporation Act requires public corporations to publish an annual report no later than six months after the end of the calendar year. These reports must be audited by an independent auditor.

Privatization Program

In the 1990s, Guyana underwent significant privatization with the divestment of many sectors. In 1993, the Privatization Policy Framework Paper known as the “Privatisation White Paper” was tabled in Parliament and led to the creation of the Privatization Unit (PU). Its function was to co-ordinate the implementation of the GoG’s privatization program and was tasked with:

  • Combining the functions of the Public Corporations Secretariat (PCS) and the National Industrial & Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL);
  • Preparing for the program strategy and annual program targets for privatization or liquidation Cabinet’s approval;
  • Implementing the privatization of SOEs and assets selected for inclusion in the program;
  • Participating in negotiations for the privatization of SOEs;
  • Reviewing offers and making recommendations to Cabinet on the terms and conditions for the sale of SOEs;
  • Preparing financial and administrative audits of SOEs not selected for privatization.
  • Developing a strategy to build public understanding and support for privatization;
  • Ensuring that transparency of the privatization program is strictly respected and followed.
  • Monitoring operations of privatized entities in accordance with the terms and conditions of each respective contract.
  • Preparing for Cabinet, broad guidelines on operating policies for privatization, develop action plans for implementation, conduct a public relations campaign and help to build national consensus in support of government’s program.

Foreign investors have equal access to privatization opportunities. However, there are many reports that the process is opaque and favors politically connected local businesses. Currently, the GoG is interested in privatizing at least a portion of GUYSUCO.

U.S. firms are generally given equal access to these projects through a public bidding process. However, many bidders continue to complain about the criteria and question their unsuccessful attempt at securing a contract. In cases where international financial institution (IFI) funding has been involved in the project, such allegations have been credibly addressed. In cases where the project relied solely on GoG funds, redress has been more problematic to achieve.

While Guyana-based businesses lag in adopting Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) norms in alignment with North American and European standards, they continue to make rapid strides given the rapid introduction of foreign investment. Growing expectations on businesses to enhance their supply chains, adoption of a health and safety culture which was uncommon before oil was discovered and embracing standard labor practices provide a path forward for more businesses to adopt RBC.

Guyana does not have a policy to encourage RBC. Most companies conform to their business responsibilities outlined by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), including human rights and labor rights, information disclosure, environment, bribery, consumer interests, science and technology, competition, and taxation. Guyana’s laws align with the guidelines for RBC by the OECD. Despite these improvements, Guyana has human rights concerns, especially involving child labor in outlying regions and in the mining sector. The GoG enforces human rights laws but many report a lack of capacity to adequately enforce human and labor rights law. In many hinterland areas competing land rights issues continue to plaque individuals and businesses. Workplace safety remains an issue, particularly in mining, agriculture and construction.

Local companies have improved RBC as firms react to increased levels of competition, partly to compete or subcontract with companies in the oil and gas sector that emphasize it. Guyanese consumers are increasingly aware of RBC principles as the population becomes more sensitized. Enforcement of laws remains a challenge due to limits on institutional strength. The GoG has expressed hope that large multinational companies will lead the way on RBC practices, setting an example for smaller local firms to follow, particularly in the extractive industries sector. Guyana joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) as a candidate country in October 2017 but was suspended in February 2023. Guyana is not a signatory of the Montreux Document.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

Comply Chain.

Climate Issues

Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030 (LCDS) is an executive branch led policy framework/roadmap for the country to maintain 99.5 percent of its largely intact forests, incentivize biodiversity conservation, invest in climate resilient infrastructure, and keep carbon emissions at 2019 levels while quintupling economic growth over the next 20 years. The impetus to establish the LCDS came from the GoG’s 2009 agreement with Norway to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), which earned Guyana $250 million over ten years for reducing its annual deforestation rate from 0.12 to 0.05 percent. Guyana currently complies with this commitment. The LCDS 2030 consists of four core objectives: accessing market-based mechanisms for Guyana’s forest carbon sequestration services, stimulate future growth through clean energy and sustainable economic activities, protect against climate change, and align with global climate goals. The LCDS contemplates active participation by the private sector but does not offer specific policies to incentivize their compliance. However, the GoG offers tax incentives and green loans for companies transitioning to clean energy sources. A market for tradeable permits, tax credits and pollution standards remain in its nascent stage of development, and Guyana’s procurement policy does not include environmental and green growth considerations.

Guyana became the first country to be issued carbon credits specifically designed for the prevention of forest loss and degradation. As of April 2023, Guyana has sold 30 percent of its carbon credits and is actively seeking other partners in development. Guyana continues to make strides embracing technology to improve institutions for oil spill response and monitoring of the deforestation rate. Finally, renewable energy projects are being implemented which could reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce the carbon footprint of the country soon.

The law provides criminal penalties for corrupt practices by public officials. The relevant laws enacted include the Integrity Commission Act, State Assets Recovery Act, and the Audit Act. Notably, the Integrity Commission Board expired in February 2021, with no appointments made as of March 2022. Several media outlets reported on government corruption in recent years, and it remains a significant public concern.  Guyana has regulations to counter conflict of interests in the award of contracts. Media and civil society organizations continued to criticize the government for being slow to prosecute corruption cases.  The government passed legislation in 1997 that requires public officials to disclose their assets to an Integrity Commission prior to assuming office.  There are no significant compliance programs to detect bribery of government officials.

Guyana’s Integrity Commission was re-constituted in February 2018 after a 12-year hiatus, but only collects reports of asset declarations and lacks any ability to investigate suspected irregularities, complaints, or issues. The Integrity Commission can only flag asset declarations for investigation by other authorities. Guyana ratified major international corruption instruments, including the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

Widespread concerns remain about inefficiencies and corruption regarding the awarding of contracts, particularly with respect to concerns of collusion and non-transparency.  In his 2020 annual report, the Auditor General noted disregard for the procedures, rules, and the laws that govern public procurement .  There were reports of overpayments of contracts and procurement breaches.  Nevertheless, the country has made some improvements. Additionally, American firms report growing issues with the Guyana Revenue Authority. According to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), Guyana ranked 87 out of 180 countries for perceptions of corruption, falling 4 spots in comparison to 2020.

Companies interested in doing business in Guyana may contact a “watchdog” organization (international, regional, local nongovernmental organization operating in the country/economy that monitors corruption, such as Transparency International) for more information:

Resources to Report Corruption

Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc.
157 Waterloo Street, Second Floor
Private Sector Commission Building,
North Cummingsburg,Georgetown
+592 231 9586 

Despite political stability and strong economic growth, citizen and public security concerns in Guyana impose significant costs on businesses and limit foreign and domestic investment. There are no known national security threats affecting foreign investment within Guyana.

Guyana has a high crime rate, and violence associated with drug and gold smuggling is on the rise. The country peacefully transitioned to a new government on August 2, 2020, after a 20 month-long extra-constitutional and electoral crisis, which saw few instances of politically incited violence. The GoG has committed to electoral reform in the wake of the 2020 electoral crisis to avoid future electoral impasses.

The security environment in the country continues to be a concern for many businesses. Businesses considering investing in Guyana are strongly encouraged to develop adequate security systems.

The U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory (of May 2023) assesses Guyana at Level 3 indicating that travelers should exercise increased caution. U.S. companies with personnel assigned to Guyana are strongly advised to conduct security and cultural awareness training.

Guyana’s labor market is tightening due to high investments in the oil and gas sector. In 2017, the total population aged 15 and above residing in Guyana was 550,831. In the first quarter of 2021, the labor force participation rate was 51.1 percent. Unemployment stood at 15.1 percent in the first quarter of 2021. A concerning trend is an increase in youth unemployment, jumping from 30.2 percent in the first quarter 2020 to 31.4 percent in first quarter 2021. Guyana has witnessed an influx of Venezuelan migrants who predominantly work in mining areas and in the restaurant industry. The Ali-led administration implementation of the LCA creates pressure on an already tight labor market by offering legal protections and incentives for Guyanese companies to service the oil and gas sector, fueling the flight of labor and investment to the industry and raising the risk of the resource curse.

Guyana has an old-age pension scheme, but social safety net programs do not exist for the working-age population. Strikes are common in the sugar industry and may vary with the public sector during collective bargaining sessions. Guyana has a significant informal economy, accounting for between 30 and 50 percent of the job market, though this is in part attributable to many Guyanese pursuing self-employment in unregulated jobs. In February 2023, GoG leadership suggested there was a labor shortage as the private sector calls for specific immigration changes for skilled labor.

Local legislation governing labor in Guyana includes the National Insurance Act, Guyana Labour Act, Occupation Health and Safety Act, and the Termination of Severance and Pay Act.  Guyana’s Human Development Index for 2020 increased to 0.67 from 0.682. Guyana’s literacy rate is estimated at 90%. There is an ongoing push for an information and communications technology curriculum in Guyana’s schools to develop a talent pool for the industry.

Guyana has one of the highest emigration rates, 89 percent, in the world for nationals with a university degree. A significant number of businesses report challenges with staff recruitment and retention.  These issues are linked to a small pool of semi-skilled and skilled workers. Companies entering Guyana should consider training and capacity building opportunities for their employees.

The 1997 Trade Union Recognition Act requires businesses operating in Guyana to recognize and collectively bargain with the trade union selected by most of its workers.  The government, on occasion, has unilaterally imposed wage increases. Guyana adheres to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention, protecting worker rights.  The public sector has a minimum monthly wage of approximately $350 while the private sector minimum wage is slightly lower at $300.

The DFC is responsible for providing and facilitating the financing of private development projects in lower- and middle-income countries. A U.S. government delegation led by the DFC visited Guyana to discuss investment opportunities in Guyana in October 2020. The DFC remains interested in financing projects in Guyana with special interest on climate financing.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) offers insurance and financing to support U.S. firms exporting to Guyana.  EXIM signed an MOU for USD 2 Billion with President Ali in July 2022. EXIM is actively involved in Guyana for the financing of energy and infrastructure projects pending approvals. Furthermore, several private entities have projects before EXIM for consideration.

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (USD) N/A N/A 2022 $15.36 billion
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country (USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2015 $178 million BEA data available at
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2022 117.6% UNCTAD data available at

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI 

Data not available.

Thomas Seeger
Economic and Commercial Officer

Richard Leo
Economic and Commercial Specialist
Embassy of the United States of America
100 Duke and Young Streets, Kingston
Georgetown, Guyana
Telephone: + (592) 225-4900-9 Ext. 4220 and Ext. 4213
Fax: + (592) 225-8597

On This Page

  2. 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
    1. Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
    2. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
    3. Other Investment Policy Reviews
    4. Business Facilitation
    5. Resources
    6. Outward Investment
  3. 2. Bilateral Investment and Taxation Treaties
  4. 3. Legal Regime
    1. Transparency of the Regulatory System
    2. Resources
    3. International Regulatory Considerations
    4. Legal System and Judicial Independence
    5. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
    6. Resources
    7. Competition and Antitrust Laws
    8. Expropriation and Compensation
    9. Dispute Settlement
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
    10. Bankruptcy Regulations
  5. 4. Industrial Policies
    1. Investment Incentives
    2. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
    3. Performance and Data Localization Requirements
  6. 5. Protection of Property Rights
    1. Real Property
    2. Intellectual Property Rights
  7. 6. Financial Sector
    1. Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
    2. Money and Banking System
    3. Foreign Exchange and Remittances
      1. Foreign Exchange
      2. Remittance Policies
    4. Sovereign Wealth Funds
  8. 7. State-Owned Enterprises
    1. Privatization Program
  9. 8. Responsible Business Conduct
    1. Additional Resources
    2. Climate Issues
  10. 9. Corruption
    1. Resources to Report Corruption
  11. 10. Political and Security Environment
  12. 11. Labor Policies and Practices
  13. 12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
  14. 13. Foreign Direct Investment Statistics
  15. 14. Contact for More Information
2023 Investment Climate Statements: Guyana
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