Exxon Mobil and various other oil companies have discovered over 6000 million barrels of proven oil reserves within Guyana’s territorial boundaries, and commercial production is expected to begin next year: 2020.
Many Guyanese are optimistic that this development will turn the tides of fortune in favor of Guyana and the Guyanese people. Even the United States’ Ambassador to Guyana ventured to say that, “many people do not get how big this is.”
A BBC report proposed that it’s possible for Guyana to become the richest country, not only in South America, but in the world – “if” it uses its oil wealth wisely.
The word “if”! What a a powerful word it is. It reminds of the story of the battle of Troy, when the enemy sent a message: “if” we get within those walls, we will destroy all of you. The king sent back a message with just one word, “if”!
So assuming that Guyana does use its oil wealth correctly, will it become the richest country in the world? With its tiny population of less than 1 million, it seems like a possibility to the untrained eye.
But while we are all hoping for the best, let’s not be blind to reality. Here are some not-so-fun-facts about oil rich nations:
- Because of appreciation of the country’s currency after oil production, it becomes more difficult to make a profit exporting other commodities that once produced revenue for the country. This is known as Dutch Disease.
- With oil comes excitement which leads to division and war (God forbid).
- Politicians often pocket most of the money, leading to increased corruption while the common people remain poor.
Already Guyana seems to be suffering from a super-intensified power struggle. In December 2018, the opposition political party staged a no-confidence vote in which the government was defeated. Instead of obeying the constitution in calling elections within three months, the government remains in power over 7 months later – defying the laws of the constitution.
In conclusion we can say that oil alone will not make Guyana rich. Wealth in any part of the world comes from unity, cooperation, wisdom, faith in God and lots of hard work.
BBC: Will Guyana Soon Become The Richest Country in the World? Read Story…
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