The World Bank has named Guyana as having one of the highest poverty rates in the Latin America and Caribbean region, despite having one of the fastest growing economies in the region. .
In its updated Guyana fact sheet, the institution said nearly half of the country’s population lives on less than $5.5 a day, which equates to very high levels of poverty per year. compared to other countries in the region.
“Poverty rates are highest in the sparsely populated interior or hinterland where communities have limited access to economic opportunities, health care and public services. The country is experiencing high emigration and brain drain, with 39% of all Guyanese currently residing abroad and approximately half of all Guyanese with higher education having emigrated to the United States,” the Bank said. worldwide in its updated fact sheet.
The World Bank report prompted opposition leader Aubrey Norton to call on the government to take immediate action to address poverty issues and close the economic gap between the hinterland and the coast.
He said the government’s reluctance to give public sector workers a living wage further aggravates the problem of poverty.
“Their refusal to give workers a decent, decent income and to take action to deal with the extremely high cost of living in Guyana is a clear indication that their approach is not people-centred. They are just impersonators for public relations purposes,” the Leader of the Opposition said at a press conference yesterday.
Despite the poverty levels, the World Bank said the country’s economy is growing at an extraordinary rate, fueled mainly by expanding oil production and is expected to remain one of the fastest growing economies in the world. medium term.
The institution asserts that poverty reduction will depend on the performance of the non-oil economy through the creation of jobs, including those linked to public investment projects and local content for the oil sector, as well as the redistribution of resource revenues.