Guyana signs new pact for $1.7b Chinese aid

Guyana and China yesterday signed an agreement which will see China providing $50 million Renminbi ($1.7B or US$8.2 million) in grant financing.

According to Finance Minister Ashni Singh, the funds will help bolster Guyana’s economic and social development.

During the signing, which took place at the Ministry of Finance Boardroom, both Singh,

Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh and China’s Ambassador to Guyana Zhang Limin signing the agreement yesterday
Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh and China’s Ambassador to Guyana Zhang Limin signing the agreement yesterday

who signed on behalf of Guyana, and Chinese Ambassador Zhang Limin, who signed for China, reflected on similar agreements in the past, and were optimistic that the funds would successfully improve conditions for the Guyanese people.

Singh explained that the projects to be financed by this latest disbursement of Chinese aid are yet to be agreed upon, but said that those decisions will be made in the weeks and months that lie ahead.

He promised that the projects, once conceived and agreed upon, will be aimed towards the improvement of economic and social conditions. He also said that the government will work closely with the Chinese government to ensure the successful implementation of the projects.

Yesterday’s agreement is the latest of a series of instances where the Chinese government has agreed to provide aid towards Guyana’s development. In 2010, Guyana benefitted from US$7.5 million in grant aid via the signing of an economic and technical cooperation agreement with China. Additionally, in 2012 China and Guyana signed two agreements which saw the former providing more than US$7.2 million in grant aid to further technical and economic cooperation and provide fire-fighting equipment. (In addition, it was Chinese grant funding which facilitated the acquisition of the two Chinese ferries–the Kanawan and Sabanto—as well as the construction of the Guyana International Conference Centre at Turkeyen.)

On June 2nd this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Trinidad, where he met with the heads of various Caribbean countries. It was during this meeting that he proposed the provision of approximately US$3 billion in aid by the Chinese government to Caribbean countries. Ambassador Limin, speaking through his interpreter, yesterday revealed that it was around this time that successful discussions between President Donald Ramotar and Jinping led to the revelation that the Chinese government was desirous of providing $50m Renminbi towards the development of Guyana.

“This demonstrated that the Chinese government has all along supported all the developing endeavours of Guyana,” Limin told reporters.

In addition to the provision of aid, Limin said that the two countries also share very sound bilateral political and economic trade relations. In fact, he noted that last year, bilateral trade exceeded US$200 million.

Each grant financing agreement, Limin insisted, is aimed towards the promotion of Guyana’s economic and social development. “For Guyana, such a friendly developing country, for all these years we have exerted our utmost to render assistance to our friends,” he said.

The ambassador also urged the media to propagate the friendly relationship China shares with Guyana and the fact that “for all these years the Chinese government has been supporting the Guyanese government in its development, growth, and improvement.”

But this friendly relation is not one-sided, Singh said, explaining that there are ways in which Guyana renders assistance to China. One of the ways in which Guyana’s assistance to China is manifested, the Minister noted, was by rendering support at the level of international organisations.

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