Exploring Guyana: A Gem on the Northern Coast of South America

Nestled on the northern shores of South America, bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean and flanked by Suriname and Venezuela, lies Guyana, a country of lush natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Spanning an area of 214,969 sq km, with land covering 196,849 sq km and water bodies constituting 18,120 sq km, Guyana boasts a varied geography from coastal plains to rolling highlands and expansive savannas in the south.

Geographic and Climatic Conditions

Guyana’s terrain is predominantly characterized by its mostly rolling highlands, with a notable low coastal plain and the southern region marked by savanna. The country shares land boundaries totalling 2,933 km with Brazil (1,308 km), Suriname (836 km), and Venezuela (789 km), and has a coastline stretching 459 km, providing essential access to the North Atlantic Ocean. Despite its proximity to the equator, Guyana enjoys a tropical climate, with the heat moderated by northeast trade winds. It experiences two primary rainy seasons, from May to August and November to January, making its environmental conditions ideal for diverse ecosystems and agriculture.

The elevation across the country varies, with the lowest point being at sea level along the Atlantic Ocean, and its highest elevation found at Laberintos del Norte on Mount Roraima, soaring to 2,775 m. This topographical diversity facilitates a wealth of natural resources including bauxite, gold, diamonds, hardwood timber, shrimp, and fish, which are central to the nation’s economy and way of life.

Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Industry

Rich in natural resources, Guyana’s economy benefits significantly from bauxite and gold mining, alongside diamonds and valuable timber. The agricultural sector, utilizing 8.40% of the country’s land, produces sugarcane, rice, edible oils, as well as livestock and seafood such as beef, pork, poultry, shrimp, and fish. These sectors are supported by an estimated 1,430 sq km of irrigated land as of 2012, highlighting the importance of agriculture and related industries like sugar and rice milling, textiles, and more recently, timber and gold mining to the economic fabric of the country.

Demographics and Urbanization

With an estimated population of 750,204 in July 2020, Guyana showcases a concentrated demographic pattern, with the majority of its populace residing in and around the capital city, Georgetown, particularly towards the northeast. Additional populous regions include areas along the Berbice River. Despite this, vast swathes of the country remain sparsely populated, reflecting its large tracts of forest land which cover 77.40% of the territory and contribute to its rich biodiversity. Furthermore, only about 26.80% of the population lived in urban centers as of 2020, illustrating a predominantly rural dwelling majority.

The official language of Guyana is English, a reflection of its colonial history, facilitating communication and education across its diverse ethnic groups. Its people are known collectively as Guyanese, reflecting a blend of cultures and traditions that enrich the nation’s social landscape.

Economic Outlook

The Guyanese economy, with a GDP per capita of $8,100 in 2017, is influenced by its wide array of natural resources and agricultural productivity. The country’s main export partners include Canada, the United States, Panama, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Key exports feature sugar, gold, bauxite, alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, and timber. Conversely, its largest import partners are Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S., China, and Suriname, with imports majorly consisting of manufactures, machinery, petroleum, and food. This trade dynamic underscores Guyana’s integration into the global market, balancing between its resource-based exports and the importation of manufactured goods and foodstuffs.

Electrification rates have reached 84.2% of the total population by 2016, indicating significant progress in infrastructure development and access to electricity for its citizens. This advancement supports both the quality of life for the Guyanese people and the operational capabilities of its industries and businesses.

In conclusion, Guyumedana emerges as a nation of superb natural beauty, rich resources, and vibrant culture. Positioned uniquely in Northern South America, it faces challenges and opportunities typical of developing countries, navigating between conserving its extensive natural landscapes and advancing its economic development. As Guyana continues to develop and integrate further into the global economy, its greatest assets — its diverse environments, resources, and people — will play critical roles in shaping its future.

Country data

Country Code GY
Region South America
Surface 214969 sq km
Land Surface 196849 sq km
Water Surface 18120 sq km
Agricultural Surface 8.40%
Forest Surface 77.40%
Lowest Elevation Point Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest Elevation Point Laberintos del Norte on Mount Roraima 2,775 m
GDP / capita $8,100 (2017 est.)