Guyana is set to benefit from an additional 50 million Renminbi (US$7.5 million/$1.5 billion) in grant aid from China, after Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh and Chinese Ambassador to Guyana Yu Wenzhe signed an economic and technical co-operation agreement yesterday.
While it has not yet been decided on what specific projects the approximately $1.5 billion would be used, Singh said that “guided by historical precedence,” the money will be most likely focus on social sector, training, building capacity and those kinds of areas. Ambassador Yu Wenzhe said the “the focus is on the social and economic development of the country which in turn will improve the living standards of the people here.”
The ceremony took place in the boardroom of the Finance Ministry. Singh said that the grant is part of a continuous programme and that “as we identify projects, they will proceed to be implemented.”
Ambassador Yu Wenzhe described the grant as “a Christmas and New Year present from the people of China.” He noted that the relationship between Guyana and China dates back several years and in recent years technical and economic co-operation between the two counties have been expanding.
He said that as the new set of projects are decided on and implemented, this will give further impetus to the close co-operation between the two countries.
Singh noted that China has provided valuable support to Guyana over the years. Many of these projects, he said, have had a transformative impact on the country. He expressed confidence that as the relationship between the two countries continues there will be even more projects with a significant developmental impact.
Guyana and China have had diplomatic relations since 1972 and Singh said that Guyana was the first Caricom country to take this step.
Last year December, the two governments signed an economic and technical co-operation grant worth approximately $1.2 billion. On that occasion, the then Chinese Ambassador to Guyana Zhang Jungao had said that for the past five years the Chinese government had provided funding for the Guyana government in excess of US$32 million.