Guyana's economy depends on commodity exports such as gold, diamonds and bauxite, sugar, rice, fish and other non-traditional agricultural products. The economy is vulnerable to fluctuations in both levels of sugar production and commodity prices. Environmental management is one of Guyana's key priorities. The impact of climate change is already being felt. Rising sea levels affect coastal areas where most of the economic activity takes place.
The indicative programming for the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) foresees €34 million to continue supporting Guyana's climate change adaptation capacity through strengthening key infrastructures for sea defences, flood prevention, while ensuring adequate river and coastal management, with benefits to the population and economic activity in low-lying parts of the coastal regions.
Under the 10th EDF, €55.4 million were allocated to the construction of sea defenses, power and water, good governance and the development of a land use plan.
Guyana also received funding under the EU’s accompanying measures scheme for ACP sugar producers. For the period 2007-2013 the Sugar Programme indicative envelope for Guyana amounted to €143 million, thereby protecting 20 000 jobs. The EU supports the Guyanese sugar industry with the aim to bring about sustainable improvements in the competitiveness of the industry and of the non-traditional agricultural sub-sectors. Although the sector is still in need of significant reform, since 2013 some signs of recovery of the sugar industry can be observed also thanks to the investments made in the modernization of the factories, field mechanization, private sector involvement and general improvement of the governance/business environment.
As a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM), Guyana benefits from regional programmes funded under the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programmes.
Guyana is also a signatory of the EU-Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a comprehensive free trade agreement with a strong focus on development.