EU shifts focus to fund health projects in Guyana after a decade of support for forest preservation, management

By Kurt Campbell


After roughly a decade of financial and other support to help Guyana’s forest preservation and associated forest management ambitions, the European Union (EU) is shifting focus to support projects in the country’s health sector.

Through its Global Gateway Initiative, and in a thrust to move away from the traditional method of offering grants and loans, the EU is seeking to continue its support to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries in a more sustainable manner that supports connections and work for people and the planet.

Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Guyana, Ambassador René Van Nes on Thursday said Guyana is included in the global initiative and will continue to benefit in the areas of forest and sea defence.

“Now the EU will not only work on forest but will work on health and we will do much… in the future,” he told the News Room.

And so, after roughly 10 years of concentrated support for Guyana’s forest, the EU is shifting gears to fund health projects.

The Ambassador said that support in the health sector will start with helping the country develop a regulatory framework for the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals here.

Work has begun in this regard, even as the EU Delegation is in talks with Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony to identify other areas of priority.

Van Nes said, however, that while the old way of identifying and funding projects have not been completely abandoned, the new Global Gateway initiative is working for the EU and is here to stay.

And so, he called for greater understanding of this new style of support that rejects the hand out ideal but will work to develop connectivity and frameworks to attract larger private sector or other international investment.

The focus is on infrastructure, renewable energy, digital technology, health and water programmes.

“Those are big areas in which we work and the new way of working is actually a way that fits with Guyana.

“This is the new way we will use to grant money…loan we provide…we will use it to pave the way for private sector investment.

“…to leverage the resources and private sector investment from international financial institutions,” Van Nes said.

To explain how the new system is already working in Guyana, he pointed to the recent between Guyana, Rwanda and Barbados to manufacture vaccines and medicines (pharmaceuticals) in the sister CARICOM countries.

The EU supported Rwanda similarly too, to set up a regulatory framework.

“We are already assisting the government in having the regulatory environment in place.

“In the meantime, we are talking to the EU private sector to ensure it is done in a way that they appreciate and that can attract EU private sector to start the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals,” the Ambassador said.