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Guyana, See : Flags, Maps

Up the Mazaruni for Diamonds, by William La Varre

Guyana (South America)

Introduction ::Guyana


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.

Geography ::Guyana


Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between
Suriname and Venezuela

Geographic coordinates:
5 00 N, 59 00 W

Map references:

South America


total: 214,969 sq km country comparison to the world: 84 land: 196,849 sq km

water: 18,120 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Idaho

Land boundaries:

total: 2,949 km

border countries: Brazil 1,606 km, Suriname 600 km, Venezuela 743 km


459 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin


tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to August, November to January)


mostly rolling highlands; low coastal plain; savanna in south

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Roraima 2,835 m

Natural resources:

bauxite, gold, diamonds, hardwood timber, shrimp, fish

Land use:

arable land: 2.23%

permanent crops: 0.14%

other: 97.63% (2005)

Irrigated land:

1,500 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

241 cu km (2000)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 1.64 cu km/yr (2%/1%/98%)

per capita: 2,187 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

flash floods are a constant threat during rainy seasons

Environment - current issues:

water pollution from sewage and agricultural and industrial chemicals; deforestation

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay; substantial portions of its western and eastern territories are claimed by Venezuela and Suriname respectively

People ::Guyana


748,486 country comparison to the world: 161 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 33.3% (male 127,818/female 123,261)

15-64 years: 62.1% (male 233,270/female 234,025)

65 years and over: 4.6% (male 14,481/female 20,085) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 23.6 years

male: 22.9 years

female: 24.3 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

-0.547% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 224

Birth rate:

17.61 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 116

Death rate:

7.24 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 125

Net migration rate:

-15.83 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 218


urban population: 28% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 0% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 37.89 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 70 male: 42.3 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 33.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 66.74 years country comparison to the world: 157 male: 62.93 years

female: 70.74 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.4 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 99

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

2.5% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 26

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

13,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 92

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

fewer than 1,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 80

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)


noun: Guyanese (singular and plural)

adjective: Guyanese

Ethnic groups:

East Indian 43.5%, black (African) 30.2%, mixed 16.7%, Amerindian 9.1%, other 0.5% (2002 census)


Hindu 28.4%, Pentecostal 16.9%, Roman Catholic 8.1%, Anglican 6.9%, Seventh Day Adventist 5%, Methodist 1.7%, Jehovah Witness 1.1%, other Christian 17.7%, Muslim 7.2%, other 4.3%, none 4.3% (2002 census)


English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Urdu


definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school

total population: 91.8%

male: 92%

female: 91.6% (2002 Census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 12 years

male: 12 years

female: 12 years (2008)

Education expenditures:

6.1% of GDP (2007) country comparison to the world: 37

Government ::Guyana

Country name:

conventional long form: Cooperative Republic of Guyana

conventional short form: Guyana

former: British Guiana

Government type:



name: Georgetown

geographic coordinates: 6 48 N, 58 10 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

10 regions; Barima-Waini, Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Demerara-Mahaica, East
Berbice-Corentyne, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Mahaica-Berbice,
Pomeroon-Supenaam, Potaro-Siparuni, Upper Demerara-Berbice, Upper
Takutu-Upper Essequibo


26 May 1966 (from the UK)

National holiday:

Republic Day, 23 February (1970)


6 October 1980

Legal system:

based on English common law with certain admixtures of Roman-Dutch law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Bharrat JAGDEO (since 11 August 1999); note - assumed presidency after resignation of President Janet JAGAN and was reelected in 2001, and again in 2006

head of government: Prime Minister Samuel HINDS (since October 1992, except for a period as chief of state after the death of President Cheddi JAGAN on 6 March 1997)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president, responsible to the legislature (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president elected by popular vote as leader of a party list in parliamentary elections, which must be held at least every five years (no term limits); elections last held on 28 August 2006 (next to be held by August 2011); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: President Bharrat JAGDEO reelected; percent of vote 54.6%

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly (65 seats; members elected by popular vote, also not more than 4 non-elected non-voting ministers and 2 non-elected non-voting parliamentary secretaries appointed by the president; members to serve five-year terms)

elections: last held on 28 August 2006 (next to be held by August 2011)

election results: percent of vote by party - PPP/C 54.6%, PNC/R 34%, AFC 8.1%, other 3.3%; seats by party - PPP/C 36, PNC/R 22, AFC 5, other 2

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court of Judicature, consisting of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, with right of final appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)

Political parties and leaders:

Alliance for Change or AFC [Raphael TROTMAN and Khemraj RAMJATTAN];
Guyana Action Party or GAP [Paul HARDY]; Justice for All Party [C.N.
SHARMA]; People's National Congress/Reform or PNC/R [Robert Herman
Orlando CORBIN]; People's Progressive Party/Civic or PPP/C [Bharrat
JAGDEO]; Rise, Organize, and Rebuild or ROAR [Ravi DEV]; The United
Force or TUF [Manzoor NADIR]; The Unity Party [Joey JAGAN]; Vision
Guyana [Peter RAMSAROOP]; Working People's Alliance or WPA [Rupert

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Amerindian People's Association; Guyana Bar Association; Guyana
Citizens Initiative; Guyana Human Rights Association; Guyana Public
Service Union or GPSU; Private Sector Commission; Trades Union

International organization participation:

(observer), ISO (subscriber), ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIC,

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Bayney KARRAN

chancery: 2490 Tracy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 265-6900
FAX: [1] (202) 232-1297

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Karen L. WILLIAMS

embassy: US Embassy, 100 Young and Duke Streets, Kingston, Georgetown

mailing address: P. O. Box 10507, Georgetown; US Embassy, 3170 Georgetown Place, Washington DC 20521-3170

telephone: [592] 225-4900 through 4909
FAX: [592] 225-8497

Flag description:

green, with a red isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a long, yellow arrowhead; there is a narrow, black border between the red and yellow, and a narrow, white border between the yellow and the green; green represents forest and foliage; yellow stands for mineral resources and a bright future; white symbolizes Guyana's rivers; red signifies zeal and the sacrifice of the people; black indicates perseverance

National anthem:

name: "Dear Land of Guyana, of Rivers and Plains"

lyrics/music: Archibald Leonard LUKERL/Robert Cyril Gladstone POTTER

note: adopted 1966

Economy ::Guyana

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. Economic recovery since a 2005 flood-related contraction was buoyed by increases in remittances and foreign direct investment in the sugar and rice industries as well as the mining sector. Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labor and a deficient infrastructure. The government is 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 nearly 48% 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 2009-10 as a result of the world recession. 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):

$5.069 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 160 $4.946 billion (2009 est.)

$4.834 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$2.197 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

2.5% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 139 2.3% (2009 est.)

3% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$6,800 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 132 $6,600 (2009 est.)

$6,400 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 24.3%

industry: 24.7%

services: 51% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

333,900 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 162

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: NA%

Unemployment rate:

11% (2007) country comparison to the world: 121

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 1.3%

highest 10%: 33.8% (1999)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

43.2 (1999) country comparison to the world: 47

Investment (gross fixed):

34.1% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 10

Public debt:

57% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 41

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

6.8% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 173 2.9% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

6.75% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 59 6.75% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

14.54% (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 50 14.58% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$386.9 million (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 162 $252.9 million (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$1.303 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 152 $905.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$754 million (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 156 $524 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$NA (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 107 $289.9 million (31 December 2008)

$262.4 million (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:

sugarcane, rice, edible oils; shrimp, fish, beef, pork, poultry


bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining

Industrial production growth rate:

2.5% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 120

Electricity - production:

821 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 150

Electricity - consumption:

667 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 151

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 188

Oil - consumption:

10,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 149

Oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 149

Oil - imports:

10,550 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 137

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 172

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 102

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 146

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 68

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 166

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 170

Current account balance:

-$311 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 97 -$265 million (2009 est.)


$814 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 159 $763 million (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities:

sugar, gold, bauxite, alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber

Exports - partners:

Canada 27.52%, US 16.93%, UK 10.84%, Ukraine 5.54%, Netherlands 5%,
Trinidad and Tobago 4.33%, Jamaica 4.12% (2009)


$1.366 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 164 $1.161 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

manufactures, machinery, petroleum, food

Imports - partners:

US 25.23%, Trinidad and Tobago 23.23%, Cuba 6.41%, China 6.05% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$506 million (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 119 $631.4 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$804.3 million (30 September 2008) country comparison to the world: 154 $1.2 billion (2002)

Exchange rates:

Guyanese dollars (GYD) per US dollar - 204.07 (2010), 204.02 (2009), 203.86 (2008), 201.89 (2007), 200.28 (2006)

Communications ::Guyana

Telephones - main lines in use:

130,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 138

Telephones - mobile cellular:

281,400 (2005) country comparison to the world: 170

Telephone system:

general assessment: fair system for long-distance service; microwave radio relay network for trunk lines; many areas still lack fixed-line telephone services

domestic: fixed-line teledensity is about 15 per 100 persons; ; mobile-cellular teledensity about 35 per 100 persons in 2005

international: country code - 592; tropospheric scatter to Trinidad; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Broadcast media:

government-dominated broadcast media; the National Communications Network (NCN) TV is state-owned; a few private TV stations relay satellite services; the state owns and operates 2 radio stations broadcasting on multiple frequencies capable of reaching the entire country; government limits on licensing of new private radio stations continue to constrain competition in broadcast media (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

8,840 (2010) country comparison to the world: 132

Internet users:

189,600 (2009) country comparison to the world: 142

Transportation ::Guyana


96 (2010) country comparison to the world: 63

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 10

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 7 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 86

914 to 1,523 m: 13

under 914 m: 73 (2010)


total: 7,970 km country comparison to the world: 142 paved: 590 km

unpaved: 7,380 km (2000)


330 km country comparison to the world: 92 note: Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo rivers are navigable by oceangoing vessels for 150 km, 100 km, and 80 km respectively (2010)

Merchant marine:

total: 8 country comparison to the world: 121 by type: cargo 6, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 1

registered in other countries: 3 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, unknown 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals:


Military ::Guyana

Military branches:

Guyana Defense Force: Army (includes Coast Guard, Air Corps) (2009)

Military service age and obligation:

18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 189,456 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 132,188

females age 16-49: 147,296 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 8,842

female: 8,452 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

1.8% of GDP (2006) country comparison to the world: 82

Transnational Issues ::Guyana

Disputes - international:

all of the area west of the Essequibo River is claimed by Venezuela preventing any discussion of a maritime boundary; Guyana has expressed its intention to join Barbados in asserting claims before UNCLOS that Trinidad and Tobago's maritime boundary with Venezuela extends into their waters; Suriname claims a triangle of land between the New and Kutari/Koetari rivers in a historic dispute over the headwaters of the Courantyne; Guyana seeks arbitration under provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to resolve the long-standing dispute with Suriname over the axis of the territorial sea boundary in potentially oil-rich waters

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Guyana is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor; most trafficking appears to take place in remote mining camps in the country's interior; some women and girls are trafficked from northern Brazil; reporting from other nations suggests Guyanese women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation to neighboring countries and Guyanese men and boys are subject to labor exploitation in construction and agriculture; trafficking victims from Suriname, Brazil, and Venezuela transit Guyana en route to Caribbean destinations

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - for a second consecutive year, Guyana is on the Tier 2 Watch List for failing to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking, particularly in the area of law enforcement actions against trafficking offenders; the government has yet to produce an anti-trafficking conviction under the comprehensive Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act, which became law in 2005; the government operates no shelters for trafficking victims, but did include limited funding for anti-trafficking NGOs in its 2008 budget; the government did not make any effort to reduce demand for commercial sex acts during 2007 (2008)

Illicit drugs:

transshipment point for narcotics from South America - primarily Venezuela - to Europe and the US; producer of cannabis; rising money laundering related to drug trafficking and human smuggling


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