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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
Current Weather
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
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
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 ROOPNARAINE]
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 Congress
International organization participation:
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)
$252.9 million (31 December 2009 est)
Stock of broad money:
$1.303 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$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

Credits: CIA World Factbook

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