The Governments of Brazil and Guyana have established a Bilateral Working Group to assess the potential gains of a Boa Vista-Georgetown road corridor in terms of trade and investment flows. In a joint statement issued after the visit of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro to Guyana, it was disclosed that the team is also tasked with identifying possible needs of technical assistance and potential private partners and international financial institutions that could contribute to the initiative.
Bolsonaro led a high-level delegation to Guyana on May 6, 2022, following an invite from Guyana’s President Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
According to the statement, “the two Presidents acknowledged the pivotal importance of infrastructure integration to further unlocking the potential of their two countries and the wider region.”
Brazil is the largest country in South America. The two countries are already linked by a concrete bridge across the Takatu River and while Brazil has a four-lane highway into the town of Boa Vista, the road linking Guyana’s capital city of Georgetown to its border town of Lethem needs upgrading. It is believed that proper road infrastructure leading to Georgetown ports will vastly contribute to increasing trade between the two countries and internationally.
Earlier this year, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) cleared the way for negotiations to start with a Brazilian company – Construtora Queiroz Galvão S.A. which was the most responsive bidder –for the construction of the first link of the Linden-Lethem highway. The cost is US$190 million for the Linden to Mabura Hill upgrade project.
President Ali, the joint statement noted, further stressed that the establishment of a deepwater port in Guyana, linked with a future road corridor could have a beneficial impact on the development of trade between the two countries and beyond. The possibility of a complementary rail link between the two countries was also raised.
The two countries have agreed that at least by the third quarter of 2022, their tams will settle the measures necessary to enable the full implementation of the Guy ana-Brazil International Road Transportation Agreement.
According to the statement, the two Presidents also agreed to advance the process of implementing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in November 2020 for the Technical Feasibility Studies for the installation of a fibre optic link between Guyana and Brazil.