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President woos Guyanese private sector, European trade mission to do business

Last Updated on Monday, 20 November 2023, 12:32 by Denis Chabrol

President Irfaan Ali addressing European Union investors on the opening day of the EU’s first ever trade mission to Guyana.

President Irfaan Ali on Monday urged Guyana’s private sector to take advantage of business opportunities with European companies that are participating in the European Union’s (EU) first ever trade mission here, even as he urged Europe to “reset” its business relations with this South American country

Addressing the opening of the mission’s two-day engagement here, the Guyanese leader explained that such an approach could pave the way for Guyanese companies to enter the European market.

“To our local private sector, how do we take our existing business model and framework, add European value to it, expand what we have and take it into European markets and other markets,” he told representatives of 23 companies from 11 EU member nations.

The President told the business executives that Guyana was busy creating the competitive advantage to expand or relocate their services to better expand their market opportunities. He said that in the past EU investors had not looked at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as a favourable environment to do business . “Honestly, you viewed CARICOM and Guyana from a narrow lenses based on population and size of economy. Guyana has always had tremendous natural assets but I believe that European investors were not able to capture key moments in time… That is why this event must reset not only the relationship but reset your own strategic thinking on what we can offer you here in Guyana, how we can present a platform for your own businesses to expand and develop,” he said.

EU Ambassador to Guyana, Rene Van Nes said the major and small EU companies were selected for their contributions to the priority sectors of the EU Global Gateway, which is the EU’s strategy to connect Europe to the world.  He said those sectors include renewable energy, digital economy with high technology and innovative services, green solutions for agriculture, transport, forest, manufacturing, recycling and waste management, environmental remedies, health, pharmaceuticals and many others. “All sectors are highly relevant for Guyana to achieve its ambitions, as a country and as a regional hub, to lead in energy security, food security and climate security,” he said.

The Ministers of Finance, Agriculture, Health and Public Infrastructure were scheduled to deliver sectoral presentations to the companies’ representatives. A number of those companies already have a footprint in Guyana.

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November 2023