Guyana is about to prepare the groundwork to possibly benefit significantly from investments by several overseas-based countrymen and women as part of a wider strategy to engage the diaspora.
Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge told Stabroek News that the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), a United Nations agency, is about to hire a consultant to work along with 10 entrepreneurs to get the investment component of the project going.
“The entrepreneurs will participate in several workshops and will be given the opportunity to return to their country of origin to explore viable investment opportuni-ties.”
The consultant would assist Guyana in crafting a Diaspora Engagement Strategy.
Started under the previous administration, the Guyana Diaspora (GUYD) project seeks to “contribute to the economic development of Guyana through the support and engagement of the Guyanese Diaspora.”
Greenidge explained that the 10 entrepreneurs from the diaspora would be selected based on criteria defined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in consultation with IOM and that aspect of the GUYD was pulled from an IOM regional project.
“This component complements the work which was done on the GUYD project. It includes the identification of ten (10) entrepreneurs from the Diaspora who will be selected from a criteria defined by the Ministry in consultations with the IOM,” he noted.
He explained that information on the project can be had by logging on to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website. The establishment of a Diaspora website was done for the voluntary registration of overseas Guyanese, the advertisement of vacancies to the diaspora and a communication bridge for information on Guyana.
The project entails many aspects which included the official launch in New York along with workshops in Lon-don, Toronto, Washington, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda, as part of an exercise to sensitise overseas Guyanese about the GUYD initiative and to encourage them to register online.
It will also see the use of social networks to promote the GUYD Initiative and introductory meetings about the GUYD Initiative were held with the diplomatic corps and the private sector in Guyana.
Further, there will be an internal skills assessment and the analysis of policy recommendations.
“This project upon its implementation would assist the Government of Guyana to streamline its approach to and engagement with the Diaspora. It is also expected to assist the Ministry to build capacity in its Diaspora and IT Units to facilitate better communication and a more structured approach to the Diaspora, which is currently work in progress,” the Foreign Affairs Minister stated.
With help from IOM, Greenidge said that many initiatives are emerging and will be factored into the diaspora programme.
He said that IOM had conducted a regional project on effective and sustainable Diaspora Engage-ment for Development in the Caribbean.
That project commenced in July 2014 and includes components such as the establishing of coordination mechanisms.
There was also the mobilisation of Caribbean Migrants in Canada, the Netherlands, UK and the USA. This component he pointed out will involve the development of the Diaspora Engagement Strategy for Guyana.
Another aspect of the regional project was the support in channeling remittances. However Guyana will conduct a workshop to ascertain elements which may be best suited for this country.
“It was recommended that given the present circumstances in Guyana, the Ministry may wish to consider a workshop on remittances with the focus being on best practices,” he said.
The ministry is anticipating that the diaspora sees this project as an opportunity to aid in the development of the country of their birth.