The Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) will be developing a strategic plan to overhaul its operations and refine its investment promotion, according to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Owen Verwey.
Verwey made the disclosure at a press conference, where he pointed out that one of the most “impactful” of the agency’s ongoing activities has been its participation in the Inter-American Development Bank-funded National Quality Infrastructure Project.
He explained that in 2019, GO-Invest will continue with the implementation of component three of the project and a central part is a comprehensive review of GO-Invest’s current institutional and operational model, with the objective of strengthening and improving its ability to promote exports and attract investments.
“Arising from this assessment, a strategic plan will be developed to overhaul GO-Invest’s strategic and operational arrangements and refine its investment promotion and export promotion strategies in keeping with current best practices in trade and investment promotion models,” he explained.
“While we may have made some changes in updating some of our strategies, the structure of the agency has never evolved. The economy is changing and so it is to give that opportunity as to how best we should be structured, how best we should be monitored and what objective we should be really working towards,” he added.
Verwey pointed out that currently the negotiations are in the final stages for consultants to review and re-design the GO-Invest framework but proposals for the consultancy for developing the Investment and Export Strategy had to be re-submitted. He added that contracts for both are expected to be finalised by July this year.
He also mentioned that the agency attended major events last year, including the first annual China International Import Export, where the country was represented by both public and private sector delegates. It was led by Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin and Verwey noted that Guyana’s wood products, rum and processed foods “were well received at the event.”
“Another significant mission was to the 2018 Trinidad Investment Convention, and through a collaboration with the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), GO-Invest along with six Guyanese Rice Producers successfully attended Expo Antad, a Food and Beverage Expo held in Mexico,” he added.
To promote mining, he said they attended the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention and facilitated a Guyana Day event to showcase mining and mining projects in the country to prospective investors. The event featured five mining companies operating in Guyana.
“In terms of tourism promotion, GO-Invest attended the Hotel Opportunities Latin America (HOLA) and Caribbean Hotel and Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS) held in Miami and showcased four Guyanese tourism projects. Go-Invest also attended the Havana International Fair (FIHAV) in Cuba along with several local companies and found market opportunities that were available for exporting Guyana’s sorrel, forestry products, tourism, rum as well as poultry,” he explained, while noting that they also conducted a “strong” promotion campaign for local food and beverages that included attendance at events such as the IMBIBE LIVE 2018 in the United Kingdom, SIAL, a food and beverage show in Canada, and LAC Flavours in Chile, among others.
As a result, the agency was able to secure 115 investments leads and 56 export leads, including significant leads for traditional exports, such as rum, and non-traditional ones, such as frozen fruit pulp.
“Apart from the successful 2018 programme of activities, the agency is also engaged in a number of ongoing activities across several years. For example, GO-Invest is a member of [the] Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), which provides training in areas related to investment and export promotion, assists with funding for attachments to learn best practices at other IPAS’s and hosting of promotional activities,” he explained.
He said that at this point, the agency is currently preparing for several major events this year, including the Guyana International Petroleum Expo (GIPEX) and is also involved in ongoing training of exporters in order to prepare them for international trading along with translation and distribution of brochures about investments and exports in relevant foreign languages.
“GO-Invest in 2018 continued to work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, through various collaborations with Guyana’s overseas missions, was able to coordinate Guyana’s participation in a number of events and forums. These included IMBIBE LIVE 2018, African Trade and Investment Summit, SIAL and FIHAV in Havana,” he added.
Verwey also noted that the agency is working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Finance to support the new Public-Private Partnership and is liaising with the diaspora to promote Guyana as a preferred investment destination.