…starts process of identifying projects
After announcing that Guyana was taking its time, Government appears to be speeding towards executing projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – a scheme used globally by China to provide financial support for infrastructural projects..
The visit yesterday by China’s State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, has accelerated discussions just two months ago Guyana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation within the framework of the BRI.
But the BRI is increasingly causing concerns. It is seen globally as a debt trap for countries like Ghana and Sri Lanka where China in some cases ended up owning the infrastructure, including major ports.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, held bilateral talks with Yi yesterday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has commenced discussions with other agencies in order to secure their inputs to assess their needs and to identify priority areas,” Greenidge said at a ceremony where he signed a loan agreement with China.
These agencies Greenidge highlighted were represented at yesterday’s discussions with the Chinese.
“We are committed to utilizing this new framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as existing bilateral mechanisms, to channel support to critical sectors, namely infrastructure, agriculture, renewable energy, health and ICT, in order to bring direct benefits to our citizens.
Greenidge stated during a ceremony that the discussions focused on how Guyana and China will move forward with the cooperation areas identified under the BRI MOU.
He said while the MOU outlines broad areas of collaboration, such as policy coordination, enhancing connectivity, promoting trade and increased people-to-people exchanges among others, the two countries must now identify specific proposals and develop a mechanism by which projects and programmes in these areas, may be proposed and evaluated at the technical level.
Minister Yi said the two countries are working closely to develop an action plan to guide the implementation of the MOU.
President David Granger had said that the government “must go into these agreement with its eyes wide open”.
He said that Government recognises that Guyana needs infrastructure in order to develop and this is the main reason Guyana is courting China’s BRI.
Granger had told the media that Guyana is going to be prudent in its approach to projects under the BRI which is developing a reputation on the international stage as a debt trap for small nations of interest to China.
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