China-Guyana relations: A resilient journey towards mutual prosperity
Imran Khalid
National flags of Guyana and China. /CFP
National flags of Guyana and China. /CFP

National flags of Guyana and China. /CFP

Editor's note: Imran Khalid, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, is a freelance columnist on international affairs. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Guyanese President Irfaan Ali's historic sojourn to China is set to ignite a transformative phase in the bilateral dynamics of the two nations. Amidst a flurry of engaging deliberations, his highly fruitful meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang are hailed as a herald of an unprecedented epoch in the Sino-Guyana entente.

This visit not only cements the bond between the two countries but also beckons a fresh chapter in China's enduring liaison with the Caribbean archipelago. Driven by potential and mutual interests, this diplomatic overture portends a promising future for stronger and deeper ties that promise to reshape the regional landscape.

The meeting between President Xi and President Ali took place in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province in southwest China, where President Ali also attended the opening ceremony of the 31st FISU World University Games. During their meeting, President Xi's expressed his vision of a robust bond between China and Guyana that is built on mutual trust, reliance, shared opportunities, and collaborative growth.

Mutual cooperation and trust are the key elements that will pave the way for these two nations to forge a strong and dynamic friendship on their developmental journey. Last year, both countries celebrated the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. Over the past half-century, China and Guyana have nurtured a relationship founded on mutual respect and parity.

The enduring political trust has grown ever stronger, as fruitful collaborations set an exemplar of win-win cooperation, despite their distinct social systems, histories, and cultures. This enduring partnership stands as a testament to the potential of harmonious ties between nations with diverse backgrounds, bridging divides through pragmatic achievements.

Amid the global economic upheaval inflicted by COVID-19, the economic and trade alliance between China and Guyana displayed unwavering resilience and vigor. As per China Customs' data, the bilateral trade of goods skyrocketed by an astounding 213 percent from 2018 to 2022, boasting an average annual growth rate surpassing 42.5 percent.

Guyana's President Irfaan Ali lays a wreath at the Monument to the People's Heroes and bows in front of it, in Beijing, China, July 31, 2023. /CFP
Guyana's President Irfaan Ali lays a wreath at the Monument to the People's Heroes and bows in front of it, in Beijing, China, July 31, 2023. /CFP

Guyana's President Irfaan Ali lays a wreath at the Monument to the People's Heroes and bows in front of it, in Beijing, China, July 31, 2023. /CFP

Despite the pandemic's onslaught, this remarkable surge in trade volume testifies to the enduring strength and dynamism of their partnership, reflecting a beacon of hope amidst the turbulent tides of the post-pandemic world economy. The China-Guyana trade partnership has witnessed a remarkable ascent, with bilateral trade in goods surging to a staggering $1.88 billion by the close of 2022. This extraordinary six-fold escalation, ascending from $265 million in 2018, cements Guyana's position as China's foremost trading partner within the CARICOM nations.

The unprecedented growth in trade attests to the steadfastness of their economic ties, projecting a promising trajectory for their future cooperation. In 2018, China and Guyana penned a pivotal Memorandum of Understanding on the BRI, infusing fresh vigor into their pragmatic collaboration and signaling an era of strengthened ties. By 2019's close, Guyana's debut oil barrel marked a transformative leap in economic progress. Unfazed by the pandemic's gloom in 2020, the nation defied the odds with a staggering 43 percent growth, emerging as the globe's fastest-growing economy.

Guyana finds itself a beneficiary of China's surging investments, propelling the nation's economic journey. Chinese contributions, notably the government-donated conference center, and the construction of vital infrastructure like roads, hotels, and airports by Chinese enterprises, have catalyzed Guyana's socio-economic metamorphosis.

As China extends its supportive hand, Guyana stands poised to harness the potential of these partnerships, forging a path toward robust development and shared prosperity.

China unequivocally backs Guyana in charting its unique developmental course, tailored to its national circumstances. Embracing the Belt and Road Initiative, China eagerly seeks to bolster collaboration with Guyana in diverse domains such as economy, trade, agriculture, energy, and sustainable growth. During President Ali's meetings with the Chinese leadership it was assured that, aligned in purpose, China is committed to bolstering ties between the two countries, confronting global challenges collectively, safeguarding the collective interests of developing nations, and striving for a more equitable global order.

This harmonious vision is the prerequisite for enhanced bilateral relations and resonates with the aspiration for a fairer and more prosperous world. China holds a pivotal status as Guyana's strategic partner, lauded by President Ali for its remarkable strides in modernization. Grateful for China's support in their economic and social progress, he has warmly invited Chinese enterprises to engage in Guyana's investment landscape.

Recognizing China's influential role in global affairs, President Ali has also pledged cooperation in practicing multilateralism, addressing crucial challenges like energy security, food security, and climate change. This mutual commitment sets the stage for collaborative action, navigating the complex terrain of international issues and advancing shared interests between the two nations.

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