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Govt eyeing potential investors in Africa for regional transportation needs – Guyana Times

…airlines in Africa welcome to invest – Finance Minister

With the aim of promoting private sector-led solutions for logistics and regional transportation of agricultural produce, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government has revealed that it is also looking at potential investors in Africa.
This was revealed by Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, during his recent participation in the Afri-Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF).

Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh (left) sharing the stage with Dr Benedict Oramah, President of the Afreximbank at ACTIF23

He referenced Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who was in Guyana for the conference and who has been a vocal proponent for more economic ties between the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and Africa. According to Singh, with transportation a major hurdle to the Region achieving food security, the time is right to look to Africa for investors.
“Prime Minister Mottley has been in conversations about movement of agricultural produce, movement of fertiliser from Africa to Barbados and then onwards across the Caribbean. But we’re looking, really ideally, like I said earlier, at a private sector solution to this. Not least because the business case has to be a favourable one,” Dr Singh said.

“We believe it is a favourable one. And we will do all we can to demonstrate that this is a favourable business case here. But it has to be a market-based solution. We’re looking really for private investors in Africa… we have the Governor of Lagos State here. So, what we want really is for private investors to see this opportunity and to take advantage of it.”
The Finance Minister was optimistic that such an investment opportunity can eventually be taken up by the right investor. He noted, for example, that countries are growing more and more cognisant of the opportunities in Guyana for air transport.
“And with the growth taking place in Guyana, we believe that will happen. For many years we didn’t have a direct link with Europe. British Airways saw the volume of traffic that is coming to Guyana and they have now introduced a service to Guyana. And this serves an important demonstrative effect.”

“We’re hoping, we had a charter from Ethiopian airlines. We’re hopeful that airlines that are already operating in Africa, or potential investors in airline services, whether scheduled or chartered, will see the opportunities and take advantage of them,” Dr Singh said.
The reference to a charter from an Ethiopian airline is likely connected to reports earlier this year that the Government of Guyana was in talks with Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, to commence flights along the Guyana route.
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) had said in April that it would be funding a consultancy that would explore the establishment of a maritime cargo service between Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago – primarily for the movement of agricultural products.

According to the bank, the Caricom heads had identified a lack of adequate regional transportation as a major obstacle to the movement of agricultural products within the Region, and a major contributor to food insecurity.
The Government of Guyana, in collaboration with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) hosted the second AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF23), from October 30 to 31, at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown.
Organised under the overarching theme “Creating a Shared Prosperous Future”, and convened by Afreximbank and the GoG, ACTIF23 focused on consolidating commercial collaboration between the Caribbean Region and Africa, for increased inter-regional trade and investment; building on the successes of the inaugural edition that was held in Barbados, in September 2022.
The AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum was introduced in 2022 to enhance the growth of trade and investment between Africa and the Caribbean, including promoting airlinks, tourism, technology transfer, financial stability, food security, industrialisation and cultural ties.

The inaugural event welcomed over 1267 delegates from 108 countries, including participants from 50 African countries, 13 Caribbean countries, and regions as far away as Oceania.
There has been growing commercial cooperation between Africa and Caricom supported by Afreximbank.
Eleven Caricom member countries are now participating States in the bank and the bank’s Board approved a limit of US$3 billion for Caribbean economies to enhance trade and investment opportunities between the two Regions.
The bank is launching its representative office in Bridgetown, Barbados; and providing technical assistance towards the establishment of the Caricom Export-Import Bank, and the deployment of the Pan African Payment and Settlement System in the Caribbean. (G3)

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