Figure 4. Guyana: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Sector of Origin,
Source: Based on information from Economist Intelligence Unit,
Country Profile: Guyana, Barbados, Windward and Leeward
Islands, 1989-90, London, 1989.
The structure of Guyana's export-oriented economy in the 1980s
was much the same as it had been since colonial times. Sugar,
bauxite, and rice were the most important products. In fiscal year
1989, agriculture accounted for 30 percent of
Guyana's official GDP, mining for 10 percent, manufacturing and
construction for 15 percent, services for 22 percent, government
for 18 percent, and other activities for about 5 percent
fig. 4). The existence of a large unofficial parallel market in Guyana
made it difficult to obtain reliable data on overall economic
activity. But according to some estimates, as much as one-half of
Guyana's actual economic activity occurred in the parallel market.
The most important agricultural concern was the sugar industry,
operated by the state-owned Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco).
Sugar production declined significantly during the 1980s. The
magnitude of the decline became apparent in 1988, when Guyana
imported sugar for the first time in the twentieth century. The
second most important agricultural product was rice. In contrast to
sugar, rice was produced mostly on privately owned farms, and most
rice was consumed domestically. Rice production fluctuated widely
during the 1980s. Droughts, floods, and plant disease often
interfered with crops, especially in 1988, when Guyana imported
rice as well as sugar. Guyana also produced livestock for domestic
consumption and exported fishery products
ch.). Forest resources remained largely unexploited
, this ch.).
Bauxite production was the most important part of the mining
sector. The major bauxite mines, operated by the Guyana Mining
Enterprise Limited (Guymine), were in the Linden area and on the
Berbice River at Kwakwani. Bauxite production declined to 1.3
million tons in 1988 compared with the 1966 level of 3 million
tons. Guyana also mined gold and diamonds, but the exact value of
all of these goods was not known because smugglers commonly
absconded with these valuable minerals
, this ch.).
Processing of sugar, bauxite, rice, and other primary products
accounted for three-quarters of Guyana's manufacturing activity.
Guyanese industry produced some consumer goods, but the country
lacked heavy manufacturers
, this ch.). The
service component of GDP included transport, communications,
financial activities, trade, and distribution. Official statistics
did not include many services, which the parallel market provided.
Data as of January 1992