Guyana [Country Flag of Guyana]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Guyana]



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Location: 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
land: 196,850 sq km
water: 18,120 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

Coastline: 459 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to mid-August, mid-November to mid-January)

Terrain: 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%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 6%
forests and woodland: 84%
other: 8% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,300 sq km (1993 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, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


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Population: 707,954 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 31% (male 112,339; female 108,095)
15-64 years: 64% (male 228,719; female 226,309)
65 years and over: 5% (male 14,652; female 17,840) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.47% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 18.49 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 8.72 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -14.45 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 48.67 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.34 years
male: 59.5 years
female: 65.32 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.12 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Guyanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Guyanese

Ethnic groups: East Indian 49%, black 32%, mixed 12%, Amerindian 6%, white and Chinese 1%

Religions: Christian 57%, Hindu 33%, Muslim 9%, other 1%

Languages: English, Amerindian dialects

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 98.1%
male: 98.6%
female: 97.5% (1995 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Co-operative Republic of Guyana
conventional short form: Guyana
former: British Guiana

Data code: GY

Government type: republic

National capital: Georgetown

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

Independence: 26 May 1966 (from UK)

National holiday: Republic Day, 23 February (1970)

Constitution: 6 October 1980

Legal system: based on English common law with certain admixtures of Roman-Dutch law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Executive President Janet JAGAN (since December 1997); replaced Samuel HINDS
head of government: Prime Minister Samuel HINDS (since 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 after legislative elections which must be held within five years; legislative elections last held 15 December 1997 (next to be held NA 2002); prime minister appointed by the president

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (65 seats, 53 popularly elected; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 15 December 1997 (next to be held by March 2003)
election results: percent of vote by party—PPP 54%, PNC 41%, AFG 1%, TUF 1%; seats by party—PPP 36, PNC 25, AFG 2, TUF 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Judicature

Political parties and leaders: People's Progressive Party (PPP), People's National Congress (PNC), Hugh Desmond HOYTE; For a Good and Green Guyana (GGG), Hamilton GREEN; Alliance for Guyana (AFG), Rupert ROOPNARINE; Democratic Labor Movement (DLM), Paul TENNASSEE; People's Democratic Movement (PDM), Llewellyn JOHN; National Democratic Front (NDF), Joseph BACCHUS; The United Force (TUF), Manzoor NADIR; National Republican Party (NRP), Robert GANGADEEN; Guyana Labor Party (GLP); Guyana Democratic Party (GDP), Asgar ALLY; Guyanese Organization for Liberty and Democracy Party (GOLD), Anthony MEKDECI

Political pressure groups and leaders: Trades Union Congress (TUC); Guyana Council of Indian Organizations (GCIO); Civil Liberties Action Committee (CLAC)
note: the latter two organizations are small and active but not well organized

International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OIC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Ali Odeen ISHMAEL
chancery: 2490 Tracy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 265-6900, 6901
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James F. MACK
embassy: 99-100 Young and Duke Streets, Kingston, Georgetown
mailing address: P. O. Box 10507, Georgetown
telephone: [592] (2) 54900 through 54909, 57960 through 57969
FAX: [592] (2) 58497

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


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Economy—overview: In 1997, Guyana, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, posted its sixth straight year of economic growth of 5% or better, with the advance led by gold and bauxite mining and by sugar growing. Favorable growth factors have included expansion in the key agricultural and mining sectors, a more favorable atmosphere for business initiative, a more realistic exchange rate, a moderate inflation rate, and the continued support of international organizations. Serious underlying economic problems will continue. Electric power has been in short supply and constitutes a major barrier to future gains in national output. The government must persist in efforts to manage its sizable external debt and extend its privatization program.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$1.8 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 5% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,500 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 39%
industry: 28%
services: 33% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 4.5% (1997 est.)

Labor force: NA

Unemployment rate: 12% (1992 est.)

revenues: $278 million
expenditures: $299 million, including capital expenditures of $133 million (1996 est.)

Industries: bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, fishing (shrimp), textiles, gold mining

Industrial production growth rate: 5.6% (1994 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 114,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 230 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 339 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: sugar, rice, wheat, vegetable oils; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; development potential exists for fishing and forestry

total value: $546 million (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: sugar, gold, bauxite/alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses
partners: Canada 33%, US 24%, UK 22% (1994 est.)

total value: $589 million (c.i.f., 1996 est.)
commodities: manufactures, machinery, petroleum, food
partners: US 29%, Trinidad and Tobago 17%, Netherlands Antilles 17%, UK 11%, (1994 est.)

Debt—external: $1.5 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 Guyanese dollar (G$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Guyanese dollars (G$) per US$1—144.2 (January 1998), 142.4 (1997), 140.4 (1996), 142.0 (1995), 138.3 (1994), 126.7 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 33,000 (1987 est.)

Telephone system: 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 4, FM 3, shortwave 1

Radios: 398,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 11 (1995 est.)

Televisions: 32,000 (1992 est.)


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total: 88 km
standard gauge: 40 km 1.435-m gauge (dedicated to ore transport)
narrow gauge: 48 km 0.914-m gauge (dedicated to ore transport)

total: 7,970 km
paved: 590 km
unpaved: 7,380 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 6,000 km total of navigable waterways; 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 cargo ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,340 GRT/4,530 DWT (1997 est.)

Airports: 50 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 45
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 34 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: Guyana Defense Force (GDF; includes Ground Forces, Coast Guard, and Air Corps), Guyana People's Militia (GPM), Guyana National Service (GNS)

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 201,126 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 151,963 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $7 million (1994)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 1.7% (1994)

Transnational Issues

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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)

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for narcotics from South America—primarily Venezuela - to Europe and the US; producer of cannabis