During the 1970s, large parts of Guyana's business were
nationalized, such as the mining and sugar industries that
dominated for many years. However, economic problems in the
form of rising oil prices and falling bauxite and sugar
prices led to the country facing economic collapse in the
In 1989, a reform program was devised to privatize
business and encourage foreign investment. Despite some
sluggishness in the reform work, the economy improved, and
growth increased during the 1990s. During the 00s, the
positive development continued, mainly due to high world
market prices for the country's export goods. In 2005, the
country was hit by floods that caused major damage to
countryaah, only 2 percent of the land area is cultivated, but
agriculture still accounts for 19 percent of employment and
40 percent of exports through the two most important crops,
sugar and rice. Agriculture is fairly mechanized. Sugar
accounts for almost 30 percent of the country's exports and
is grown mainly on large plantations, while rice
predominates on small family farms. Otherwise, the most
important products are poultry, coconuts, fruits and
vegetables. About 5 percent of the area is pasture, which is
used for breeding cattle, sheep and pigs.
Minerals, energy and industry
For many years, bauxite was the most important mineral
resource. Despite a significant reduction in production in
the 1980s and 1990s, it still forms the basis for large
parts of the industry. In addition, during the late 00s,
some recovery of bauxite production could be noticed. The
most important mining areas are around Linden and in the
vicinity of Kwakwani, about 60 km southeast of Linden, on
the Barbice River. Since the mid-1990s, gold production has
grown significantly in importance and now gold accounts for
a large part of export earnings. Until the mid-1990s, gold
mining was conducted by large companies, but now it is often
run by small and medium-sized companies or by individual
gold miners. Diamond production is also important.
The rich water energy resources in the country's interior
are only used to a small extent, but are nevertheless of
great importance for electricity generation and the mineral
industry. However, most of the energy consumption is covered
by imports of oil and oil products (these imports correspond
to almost half of total imports).
In 2013, the industry (including the mining and energy
industry) accounted for 38 percent of GDP. The bauxite
industry dominates, but there are also lighter industries
that process agricultural products, such as breweries,
tobacco industries and rum manufacturers.
The country normally has a trade deficit. The most
important export goods are gold, sugar, rice and bauxite.
Most of the imports consist of machinery and other
industrial products as well as oil products. The most
important trading partners are the United States and Canada,
as well as Trinidad and Tobago.
Tourism and gastronomy
Until the 1990s, tourism played a minor role in Guyana.
In addition to being in the capital Georgetown, hotels and
tourist facilities were few, transport opportunities were
limited and the authorities' interest in tourism as a source
of income was minimal. Conditions have slowly changed, and a
development of the tourism industry has taken place. During
the 2000s, the number of tourists has slowly increased, and
in 2012 the country was visited by 177,000 tourists.
However, bathing vacations or other mass tourism are not
relevant, but they mainly focus on so-called ecotourism and
adventure trips to the country's inner parts. There is a
rare rich plant and animal life and an exciting nature with,
among other things, original rainforests, peculiar plateau
mountains, numerous rivers and waterfalls. The Kaieteurfall,
with a vertical fall of 226 meters and just over 90 meters
wide, is considered one of the world's most impressive
waterfalls. It is surrounded by unspoilt nature in the
middle part of the country.
Rice, cassava, coconut, vegetables and fruits, poultry,
shrimp, crabs and fish are the main ingredients of a food
culture influenced by Creole cuisine, as well as Indian,
Native American, Indonesian, African and British cuisine.
Genuinely native dishes such as stew on belts or grilled
capy bar are still available, as are cassava bars,
cassava juice used to flavor pots on mainly chicken meat.