By Ray Chickrie
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Senior finance minister Winston DaCosta Jordan who is also Guyana’s governor to the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and his Surinamese counterpart, Gillmore Hoefdraad are expected to attend the first “OIC High-Level Public and Private Investment Conference” December 8 – 9 in Istanbul, Turkey, under the theme “Unleashing Intra-OIC Investment Opportunities: Investment for Solidarity and Development.”
Guyana’s ambassador to Kuwait, and GO-Investt deputy chairman, Professor Dr Shamir A. Ally, who is also Guyana’s alternate governor to the IsDB, will join finance minister Jordan in Istanbul. The delegation has a packed agenda of bi-laterals; private and public sector meetings promoting Guyana as an investment destination. Guyana’s global profile has been raised especially in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East since this small South American country discovered vast reserves of oil and gas.
The forum is a collaboration of the OIC Secretariat, the Investment Office of the Presidency of Turkey and relevant OIC institutions like the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Cooperation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the OIC (COMCEC) “with a view to boosting the volume of intra-OIC investments, eliminating barriers to trade and investment, and ensuring sustainable socio-economic development by promoting the free movement of goods, services, people and finance among OIC Member States,” the planning committee wrote on its website.
Guyana and Suriname are Latin America’s only member states of the OIC and its many organs like the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the ICD and COMCEC. This meeting comes at a good time for Guyana whose economy is projected to grow the fastest in the world. Guyana is looking to use its newfound oil wealth to diversify its economy by becoming an investment hub. This small South American country is expected to see an 86 percent economic growth in 2020 according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The biggest objective of the Istanbul OIC investment forum is to bring 57 countries to “provide a platform for OIC public and private policymakers to meet among themselves and work with policymakers at national and regional levels to share ideas on ways to improve the business climate and create opportunities for business leaders to explore the challenges and opportunities in key strategic sectors,” a release from COMCEC read.
“One of the main objectives of the Conference is to get a better assessment of the investment opportunities and implications associated with doing business in the region by involving all key stakeholders and allowing them to make informed decisions about investments and reforms.”
According to the planners, “the conference will help investors find funding sources for their projects in various sectors. In separate dedicated meeting rooms, there will be opportunities to make one-to-one meetings with high-level government officials, private sector decision-makers and investors.”