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Flag of Guyana
Map of Guyana
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, but until the early 1990s it was 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. Upon his death five years later, he was succeeded by his wife Janet, who resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was reelected in 2001.
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: 214,970 sq km
water: 18,120 sq km
land: 196,850 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Idaho
Land boundaries:
total: 2,462 km
border countries: Brazil 1,119 km, Suriname 600 km, Venezuela 743 km
459 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the outer edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to mid-August, mid-November to mid-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: 2.44%
permanent crops: 0.08%
other: 97.48% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
1,500 sq km (1998 est.)
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, 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
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.6% (male 98,198; female 94,397)
15-64 years: 67.4% (male 237,324; female 233,400)
65 years and over: 5% (male 15,510; female 19,380) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.23% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
17.89 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
9.33 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-6.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
38.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.59 years
female: 65.34 years (2002 est.)
male: 59.96 years
Total fertility rate:
2.09 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
3.01% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
15,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
900 (1999 est.)
noun: Guyanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Guyanese
Ethnic groups:
East Indian 50%, black 36%, Amerindian 7%, white, Chinese, and mixed 7%
Christian 50%, Hindu 35%, Muslim 10%, other 5%
English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 98.1%
male: 98.6%
female: 97.5% (1995 est.)
Government Guyana
Country name:
conventional long form: Co-operative Republic of Guyana
conventional short form: Guyana
former: British Guiana
Government type:
republic within the Commonwealth
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 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 JAGAN
head of government: Prime Minister Samuel HINDS (since NA December 1997)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president, responsible to the legislature
elections: president elected by the majority party in the National Assembly following legislative elections, which must be held at least every five years; elections last held 19 March 2001 (next to be held by March 2006); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: President Bharrat JAGDEO reelected; percent of legislative vote - NA%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly (68 seats, 65 elected by popular vote, 1 elected Speaker of the National Assembly, and 2 nonvoting members appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 19 March 2001 (next to be held NA March 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PPP/C 34, PNC 27, GAP and WPA 2, ROAR 1, TUF 1
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Judicature; Judicial Court of Appeal; High Court
Political parties and leaders:
Alliance for Guyana or AFG (includes Guyana Labor Party or GLP and Working People's Alliance or WPA) [Rupert ROOPNARAINE]; Guyana Action Party or GAP [Paul HARDY]; Guyana Labor Party or GLP [leader NA]; People's National Congress or PNC [Hugh Desmond HOYTE]; 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]; Working People's Alliance or WPA [Rupert ROOPNARAINE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Civil Liberties Action Committee or CLAC; Guyana Council of Indian Organizations or GCIO; Trades Union Congress or TUC
note: the GCIO and the CLAC are small and active but not well organized
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Ali Odeen ISHMAEL
chancery: 2490 Tracy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s) general: New York
FAX: [1] (202) 232-1297
telephone: [1] (202) 265-6900
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ronald D. GODARD
embassy: 100 Young and Duke Streets, Kingston, Georgetown
mailing address: P. O. Box 10507, Georgetown
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
Economy Guyana
Economy - overview:
The Guyanese economy has exhibited moderate economic growth since 1999, based on an expansion in the agricultural and mining sectors, a more favorable atmosphere for business initiatives, a more realistic exchange rate, fairly low inflation, and the continued support of international organizations. 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. Low prices for key mining and agricultural commodities combined with troubles in the bauxite and sugar industries threaten the government's already tenuous fiscal position and dim prospects for 2002.
purchasing power parity - $2.5 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.8% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $3,600 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 36%
industry: 32%
services: 32% (2000) (2000)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
418,000 (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
9.1% (2000) (understated) (2000)
revenues: $227 million
expenditures: $235.2 million, including capital expenditures of $93.4 million (2000) (2000)
bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining
Industrial production growth rate:
7.1% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production:
505 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99%
hydro: 1%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
469.65 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
sugar, rice, wheat, vegetable oils; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish (shrimp)
$505 million f.o.b. (2000)
Exports - commodities:
sugar, gold, bauxite/alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber
Exports - partners:
Canada 22%, US 22%, UK 18%, Netherlands Antilles 11% (1999)
$585 million c.i.f. (2000)
Imports - commodities:
manufactures, machinery, petroleum, food
Imports - partners:
US 29%, Trinidad and Tobago 18%, Netherlands Antilles 16%, UK 7% (1999)
Debt - external:
$1.1 billion (2000) (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
$84 million (1995), Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) $253 million (1997)
Guyanese dollar (GYD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Guyanese dollars per US dollar - 189.5 (December 2001), 187.3 (2001), 182.4 (2000), 178.0 (1999), 150.5 (1998), 142.4 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Guyana
Telephones - main lines in use:
70,000 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
6,100 (2000)
Telephone system:
general assessment: fair system for long-distance calling
domestic: microwave radio relay network for trunk lines
international: tropospheric scatter to Trinidad; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM 3, shortwave 1 (1998)
420,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (one public station; two private stations which relay US satellite services) (1997)
46,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
3 (2000)
Internet users:
95,000 (2002)
Transportation Guyana
total: 187 km
standard gauge: 139 km 1.435-m gauge
note: all dedicated to ore transport (2001 est.)
narrow gauge: 48 km 0.914-m gauge
total: 7,970 km
paved: 590 km
unpaved: 7,380 km (1996)
5,900 km (total length of navigable waterways)
note: Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo rivers are navigable by oceangoing vessels for 150 km, 100 km, and 80 km, respectively
Ports and harbors:
Bartica, Georgetown, Linden, New Amsterdam, Parika
Merchant marine:
total: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,929 GRT/4,507 DWT
ships by type: cargo 2 (2002 est.)
51 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 5 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 43
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 34 (2002)
Military Guyana
Military branches:
Guyana Defense Force (including Ground Forces, Coast Guard, and Air Corps), Guyana Police Force, Guyana People's Militia, Guyana National Service
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 206,199 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 155,058 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Transnational Issues Guyana
Disputes - international:
all of the area west of the Essequibo (river) claimed by Venezuela; Suriname claims area between New (Upper Courantyne) and Courantyne/Kutari [Koetari] rivers (all headwaters of the Courantyne); territorial sea boundary with Suriname is in dispute
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for narcotics from South America - primarily Venezuela - to Europe and the US; producer of cannabis

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003