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Guyana[Country flag of Guyana]
[Country map of Guyana]

Introduction Guyana
Background:
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, but until the early 1990s it was 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. Upon his death five years later, he was succeeded by his wife Janet, who resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was reelected in 2001.
Geography Guyana
Location:
Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Suriname and Venezuela
Geographic coordinates:
5 00 N, 59 00 W
Map references:
South America
Area:
total: 214,970 sq km
land: 196,850 sq km
water: 18,120 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Idaho
Land boundaries:
total: 2,462 km
border countries: Brazil 1,119 km, Suriname 600 km, Venezuela 743 km
Coastline:
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
Climate:
tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to mid-August, mid-November to mid-January)
Terrain:
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: 2.44%
permanent crops: 0.15%
other: 97.41% (2001)
Irrigated land:
1,500 sq km (1998 est.)
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
Population:
765,283
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 26.4% (male 103,054/female 99,279)
15-64 years: 68.5% (male 263,953/female 260,000)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 16,801/female 22,196) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 26.91 years
male: 26.44 years
female: 27.4 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.26% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
18.45 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
8.32 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
-7.51 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 33.26 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 36.94 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 29.38 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 65.5 years
male: 62.86 years
female: 68.28 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.05 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
2.5% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
11,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,100 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Guyanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Guyanese
Ethnic groups:
East Indian 50%, black 36%, Amerindian 7%, white, Chinese, and mixed 7%
Religions:
Christian 50%, Hindu 35%, Muslim 10%, other 5%
Languages:
English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 98.8%
male: 99.1%
female: 98.5% (2003 est.)
Government Guyana
Country name:
conventional long form: Co-operative Republic of Guyana
conventional short form: Guyana
former: British Guiana
Government type:
republic within the Commonwealth
Capital:
Georgetown
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
Independence:
26 May 1966 (from UK)
National holiday:
Republic Day, 23 February (1970)
Constitution:
6 October 1980
Legal system:
based on English common law with certain admixtures of Roman-Dutch law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
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
head of government: Prime Minister Samuel HINDS (since December 1997)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president, responsible to the legislature
elections: president elected by the majority party in the National Assembly following legislative elections, which must be held at least every five years; elections last held 19 March 2001 (next to be held by March 2006); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: President Bharrat JAGDEO reelected; percent of legislative vote - NA%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly (68 seats, 65 elected by popular vote, 1 elected Speaker of the National Assembly, and 2 nonvoting members appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 19 March 2001 (next to be held March 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PPP/C 34, PNC 27, GAP and WPA 2, ROAR 1, TUF 1
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Judicature; Judicial Court of Appeal; High Court
Political parties and leaders:
Alliance for Guyana or AFG (includes Guyana Labor Party or GLP and Working People's Alliance or WPA) [Rupert ROOPNARAINE]; Guyana Action Party or GAP [Paul HARDY]; Guyana Labor Party or GLP [leader NA]; People's National Congress or PNC [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]; Working People's Alliance or WPA [Rupert ROOPNARAINE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Civil Liberties Action Committee or CLAC; Guyana Council of Indian Organizations or GCIO; Trades Union Congress or TUC
note: the GCIO and the CLAC are small and active but not well organized
International organization participation:
ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, CSN, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIC, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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 Roland BULLEN
embassy: 100 Young and Duke Streets, Kingston, Georgetown
mailing address: P. O. Box 10507, Georgetown
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
Economy Guyana
Economy - overview:
The Guyanese economy exhibited moderate economic growth in 2001-02, based on expansion in the agricultural and mining sectors, a more favorable atmosphere for business initiatives, a more realistic exchange rate, fairly low inflation, and the continued support of international organizations. Growth then slowed in 2003 and came back gradually in 2004, buoyed largely by increased export earnings. 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. The bauxite mining sector should benefit in the near term from restructuring and partial privatization.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.899 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.9% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $3,800 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 38.3%
industry: 19.9%
services: 41.8% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
418,000 (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
9.1% (understated) (2000)
Population below poverty line:
NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.5% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
34.5% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $287.6 million
expenditures: $371.6 million, including capital expenditures of $93.4 million (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, rice, wheat, vegetable oils; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish, shrimp
Industries:
bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining
Industrial production growth rate:
7.1% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production:
808 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99.4%
hydro: 0.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
751.4 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
11,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA
Oil - imports:
NA
Current account balance:
$-129.4 million (2004 est.)
Exports:
$570.2 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
sugar, gold, bauxite/alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber
Exports - partners:
Canada 23.2%, US 19.2%, UK 10.9%, Portugal 9%, Belgium 6.4%, Jamaica 5.2% (2004)
Imports:
$650.1 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
manufactures, machinery, petroleum, food
Imports - partners:
Trinidad and Tobago 24.8%, US 24.5%, Cuba 6.8%, UK 5.4% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$280.6 million (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
$1.2 billion (2002)
Economic aid - recipient:
$84 million (1995), Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) $253 million (1997)
Currency (code):
Guyanese dollar (GYD)
Currency code:
GYD
Exchange rates:
Guyanese dollars per US dollar - 198.33 (2004), 193.88 (2003), 190.67 (2002), 187.32 (2001), 182.43 (2000)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Guyana
Telephones - main lines in use:
80,400 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
87,300 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: fair system for long-distance service
domestic: microwave radio relay network for trunk lines
international: country code - 592; tropospheric scatter to Trinidad; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM 3, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios:
420,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (one public station; two private stations which relay US satellite services) (1997)
Televisions:
46,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.gy
Internet hosts:
613 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
3 (2000)
Internet users:
125,000 (2002)
Transportation Guyana
Railways:
total: 187 km
standard gauge: 139 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 48 km 0.914-m gauge
note: all dedicated to ore transport (2001 est.)
Highways:
total: 7,970 km
paved: 590 km
unpaved: 7,380 km (1999 est.)
Waterways:
1,077 km
note: Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo rivers are navigable by oceangoing vessels for 150 km, 100 km, and 80 km respectively (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Georgetown
Merchant marine:
total: 6 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 7,475 GRT/8,758 DWT
by type: cargo 5, refrigerated cargo 1
registered in other countries: 3 (2005)
Airports:
49 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
under 914 m: 5 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 41
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 32 (2004 est.)
Military Guyana
Military branches:
Guyana Defense Force: Ground Forces, Coast Guard, Air Corps, Guyana People's Militia
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 206,098 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 137,964 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$6.5 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.9% (2004)
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 UNCLOS arbitration to resolve the long-standing dispute with Suriname over the axis of the territorial sea boundary in potentially oil-rich waters
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for narcotics from South America - primarily Venezuela - to Europe and the US; producer of cannabis

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


 

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