Statistics released in Guyana’s Public Debt report for 2019 show that Guyana’s debt to other countries is GYD$ 94.5B (US$450 million) as of June 2019. Of that sum, Guyana owes over GYD$3B (US$15.9 million) to China alone, through the State-owned Export Import (Exim) Bank of China.
China’s role as a money lender to Guyana is so dominant that 17.8 per cent of all of Guyana’s local debt was denominated in the Chinese Yuan currency. “The growing prominence of China, as a creditor, continues to impact the currency composition of the external debt portfolio, with 17.8 per cent being denominated in Renminbi Yuan as at end-June 2019. This signifies a 0.8 percentage point increase relative to the end-March 2019 share of 17 per cent,” the report states.
The report attributes several Chinese-funded projects in Guyana to this development, including the Cheddi Jagan Airport Extension Project, the East Coast Demerara Road Improvement Project and the National Broadband Project, all of which are funded by the Exim Bank of China. Guyana’s bilateral debt, which is money owed on a government-to-government basis, does not include the money it owes to multilateral creditors like the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB).
Guyana’s bilateral debt as of June 2019 accounted for just 35.4 per cent of all external debt. Additionally, at the end of June 2019, the total stock of public debt was US$1.6 billion, a 1.5 per cent increase compared to the end- June 2018 position.