In AQ: Can Guyana Beat the Resource Curse?

By Luisa Leme

Americas Quarterly Managing Editor José Enrique Arrioja discusses his on-the-ground reporting in the South American country for the magazine.

As Americas Quarterly's first edition of 2024 explains, the exploration of oil in Guyana has put the country in the spotlight. 

"Guyana's destiny changed in 2019 when the country started producing oil," says Americas Quarterly Managing Editor José Enrique Arrioja, adding that the South American country has oil reserves bigger than those of Saudi Arabia and produces nearly 400,000 barrels of oil per day. "This situation has tripled Guyana's GDP."

Arrioja visited Guyana, where he met with the president and government officials as well as members of the opposition, civil society, the private sector, and everyday citizens for the AQ feature article, 
"Can Guyana Beat the Resource Curse?" In the video, Arrioja notes that, considering Guyana has been the world's fastest-growing economy for the past two years, "you would expect to see a society that is actually booming, but I was surprised to see that that is not taking place—at least not yet."  

For Thomas Singh, the director of Guyana's Green Institute, the resource curse is "an add-on to Dutch disease," he says. "Just because of this phenomenon of the government sector being so large, the potential for conflict [increases] if the programs and projects that are funded by the government are not widely accepted."