─ President Ali tells Diaspora in Florida
Though the global community continue to battle major issues associated with climate change, energy and food security, Guyana has positioned itself to lead the world in these areas.
His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, while meeting with Guyanese living in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, said his government is managing the country in a way that will ensure sustainability, resilience and prosperity.
“We want to position Guyana through the leveraging of our natural assets, through the leveraging of our natural competitive advantage, position Guyana at the front seat of all three of these areas. And we are very humble about this. We understand our responsibility in the world, we don’t need anyone to lecture us about our responsibility in this world,” the president stated.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely ravaged the globe, leaving an additional 97 billion people to survive on less than US$2 per day. Dr Ali said global poverty has increased from 7.8 to 9.1 per cent between 2020 and 2021, a direct result of Covid-the worst the world has ever seen.
“The food security in one year, equals the collective food insecurity for five years prior to 2020. You think you have a problem with Covid? Brace for what is to come with food security in the world…and it is getting worse. Not only is the war in Ukraine that will make it worse with the supply chain prices, but the devastation in the floods in Pakistan, the drought in Europe, the supply is getting slimmer and slimmer. This is another major, major problem coming at us like a Tsunami.”
In addition to the war in Ukraine, there is an export ban on rice from India and wheat from Russia, which are contributing to a 12.3 and 9 per cent increase in rice and wheat on the global market.
Guyana however, has been leading a massive food security agenda in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heightening efforts to reduce the region’s US $5 billion food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.
In the area of climate change, Guyana has also taken a lead, holding developed nations responsible for the role they play in the debilitating issue.
Under President Ali’s leadership, the country launched an impressive Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030 in its bid to protect the environment while at the same time receiving payment for its contribution of carbon credits.
“We have been safeguarding a forest the size of England for all our lives, saving the world, being the lungs of the world… and we are going to continue to safeguard that forest,” President Ali asserted.
Guyana presents 18.3 million hectares of standing forest, covering 87 per cent of the country’s land area, the second highest percentage of forest cover on earth and stores 19.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide.
The president said while the world has changed over the last two years; it will also change in the next 10 years. He noted that unless a system is built which will allow the development of a successful framework, the country will fail.
“So, the investments that we are making now, must be investments that will prepare the population, prepare the country, prepare the economy for what is to come in 10 years. That is important, very critical to the development path,” he stated
The president is in the United States to address several high-level events while at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), currently underway in New York.
Since his arrival in the US last week, Dr Ali attended a meeting between Caribbean leaders and US Vice President, Kamala Harris, a follow-up to President Biden’s and Vice President Harris’s commitment at the recent Summit of the Americas to partner with the Caribbean to promote energy security, access to finance and food security.