Under the theme “Enhancing Growth Through Competitiveness” GuyExpo 2011,Guyana’s largest Trade and Investment Exposition saw Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Local and Foreign Exhibitors, Special Invitees, the head of state and members of cabinet amongst others at the ceremonial opening of the event last evening.
The annual occasion, that showcases locally produced goods and services, is now the longest sustained exhibition in the Caribbean.
According to Minister of Tourism, Manniram Prashad, the event attracted overseas exhibitors, investors and buyers from French Guiana, Sebrae from Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Venezuela, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Caribbean Exports.
He said that the 12th GuyExpo is occurring at a critical juncture, and at a time when Guyana is undergoing and experiencing a major transformation.
“We have seen an increase in investment, in production (agriculture, mining, manufacturing, forestry), in tourism, expansion in services, and massive investment in infrastructure. We are in the middle of a housing and construction boom having just recorded a 5.9% growth in the first six months of this year.” Prashad said.
“I am optimistic that this trend and momentum will continue given your participation, networking, partnership and potential investment here at GuyExpo and in Guyana.”
Prashad noted that GuyExpo is the ideal market and meeting place to showcase Guyanese creativity, talent, skills, entrepreneurship, products and services, and provides a platform for businesses and consumers to network and negotiate.
He said that the forum entails investment and educational seminars, thematic exhibits, and fun-filled activities to showcase Guyanese products, services, arts, culture, culinary delights, education, science and technology. Patrons of GuyExpo will thus have a good sampling of all that Guyana has to offer.
The tourism minister said consequently, entrepreneurs are better equipped to improve their academic and skill base, thus enabling them to become more marketable or efficient as artisans, craftsmen or service providers. In addition, micro, small and large scale enterprises are motivated by a menu of measures available to engender public-private partnerships within the context of Guyana’s private sector as the acknowledged engine of economic growth.
“Unlike our Caribbean counterparts with typical sun, sand and sea tourism, we are blessed with a different type of tourism product with a irresistible combination of fascinating and breathtaking natural beauty; pristine Amazonian rainforests, immense waterfalls, amazing wildlife, a vibrant indigenous culture, rich cultural heritage blended with some of the most hospitable and friendly people in the world.”
Prashad said that this makes Guyana the ideal ecological, nature and adventure destination with all the right ingredients.
He further stated that GuyExpo has grown from an exhibition of the monoculture, primary production economy, to an event that showcases value added manufacturing processes, the evolvement and growth of Guyana’s thriving services sector with information communication technology taking centre stage, and a growing small business sector. All these achievements, he said, are being facilitated by government programmes designed to grow the private sector and sustain bold, innovative entrepreneurship.
President Bharrat Jagdeo who delivered the feature address before declaring the event open said GuyExpo is now 16 years in existence and provides a platform for stakeholders in the business sector to interact with other sections of society.
The Head of State expressed hope that the exposition and trade fair grow in strength, fulfilling a promise that “started off as a small spark and today has grown into a bright burning fire.”
He said that over 200 arts and craft producers from Georgetown, the Rupununi and riverain areas will be among those exhibiting their produce at the four-day event.
The majority of President Jagdeo’s speech focused on Guyana’s path to development over the last five years and his prospects for the future after he demits office later this year.
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