macrohistory & world report

Cooperative Republic of Guyana

Gayana between its neighbors, Venezuela and Suriname

Gayana between its neighbors, Venezuela and Suriname

World Factbook as of November 2014: "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 has experienced positive growth almost every year over the past decade... 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... Much of Guyana's growth in recent years has come from a surge in gold production in response to global prices, although downward trends in gold prices may threaten future growth. In 2013, production of sugar dropped to a 23-year low."

Economic growth rate
2011: 4%
2010: 3.6%
2009: 3.3%

Public Debt
2011: 62.1%

Unemployment rate
2007: 11%

Export commodities
Sugar, gold, bauxite, alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $0.875 billion, imports $1.456 billion

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 44th among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal). Less equal than Britain, which ranks 94th, and the US, which ranks 45th.

Health expenditures
2009: 6.1% of GDP

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2006: 1.8%


Living in an urban area
2010: 29%
2008: 28%

Migration rate
2011: Net loss of 12.78 persons per 1,000 population per year (one of the highest loss rates, about 9,481 persons per year, some of them westward across the border into Venezuela. Canada and the US have also been migrant destinations).

Ethnic groups
2002 census: 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 Witnesses 1.1%, other Christian 17.7%, Muslim 7.2%, other 4.3%, none 4.3%


South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Venezuela to its west. Slightly smaller than Idaho. Tropical, generally hot and humid.


The president is elected at least every five years. There are no term limits. The president selects the prime minister. The legislature is unicameral and has 65 members elected by popular vote to five-year terms.

Capital: Georgetown.

Recent History

World Factbook: 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.

1962: The concentration of nonwhite manual workers and their families in British cities stimulated an outcry against unregulated immigration, culminating in the 1962 act, which restricted Guyanese entry.

Read more: Guyanese Americans - History, Modern era, The first guyanese in america

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 Jagdep, was reelected in 2001 and again in 2006.

The World Factbook

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