GEORGETOWN, Guyana, August 2, 2018 (CMC) — Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge, and China’s Ambassador to Guyana, Cui Jianchun, last Friday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between both countries, on cooperation within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative.
The MOU is expected to see enhanced cooperation in five main areas, such as policy coordination, facilities connectivity, trade and investment, financial integration and people to people interaction. Public infrastructure is also expected to be a major focus under this agreement.
During the signing ceremony, Greenidge said the MOU demonstrates the two countries’ commitment to further strengthening the ties of friendship and cooperation, which have characterised the relationship between the countries, since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972.
“As both Guyana and China look forward to fulfilling their obligations of enhancing and providing greater opportunities for our people, this initiative provides us with another opportunity to look beyond our immediate vicinity and our historic relations with the traditional metropolis, to the vast political and economic space that lies also in the east and elsewhere.
“I am therefore confident that these areas of cooperation could be a conduit, through which the government of Guyana, with the assistance of your government, could provide some impetus for the continued diversification of our economy. In this regard, we eagerly look forward to the operationalisation of this MOU, as the relations between our two countries continue on a positive trajectory,” he said.
With one of the top priorities being infrastructural development for this administration, Greenidge said that the government is looking to explore projects, under the agreement, that can build on this priority.
“One of the preoccupations of the government and one of the preoccupations of the populace has to do with the area of infrastructure. The inadequate infrastructure in Guyana has served as a deficit to the attraction of investors and economic operators, and it also serves as a constraint to identification and access to markets; so one of our main priorities, at this time, is to work on the development of infrastructure. That would include a system for designs of roads and harbours, and the like, as well as access to funding for the construction for such facilities.
“Through the Road and Belt initiative, the Chinese have made available over $50 billion in funds for the whole region to utilise, in pursuit of agreement and initiatives among the states of Latin America and the Caribbean, so we are looking at a range of projects,” he explained.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs hinted that there exists a possibility that the Linden-Lethem highway, particularly the Kurupukari to Lethem phase, as well as the new proposed Demerara Harbour Bridge, could be financed under this initiative.
“We have been speaking to all bilateral and multilateral partners. During our discussions with the Brazilians, we did discuss and explored the possibility of using funding from the Latin America China Funds to fund the road. That is something very much on the cards and something we are working on,” Greenidge noted.