Guyana to move away from international funding for Iwokrama – Granger

first_imgLess than a year after Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo declared that Guyana alone cannot sustain the Iwokrama Rainforest Project, President David Granger has affirmed that steps must be taken to lessen the country’s dependence on foreign funding.Iwokrama’s current financial model includes funding from various sources including revenues from services and investments (from businesses and partners), donor funding and intellectual property and services (including eco-system services) to meet its core costs of an estimated US.2 million annually.President David Granger during his recent visit to IwokramaShortly before demitting office, then President Donald Ramotar had stated that the Iwokrama Project was in jeopardy owing to the lack of critical financial support from the international community.Iwokrama Rainforest is to be used as a research and development centre, as well as a test model of sustainable forestry with international and local community partnerships.Ramotar had explained however that the success of this noble intention is in deep trouble due to lack of critical financial support.He had said that with very few exceptions, the global community simply has not supported the activities of Iwokrama and consequently, Guyana was faced with an unacceptable situation where its Government is forced to inject monies to allow for continuity.But President Granger believes that Guyana should get rid of its addiction to foreign financial support.“I believe we can rely less on foreign donations and more on our own efforts…Over the last 20 years and the project is 20 years old, we relied too much on foreigners. I am not saying that we shouldn’t seek foreign assistance but overreliance can be addictive,” he stated.Nonetheless, he explained that Guyana will still welcome international support but not so much in monetary terms.For example foreign students can visit Iwokrama to study the biodiversity in one of the unique ecological zones of the world.In this way, Iwokrama would be able to generate its own revenue for financial sustainability.The President explained that one of the main reasons why Iwokrama’s revenue stream remained stunted was owing to poor infrastructure, which led to the high cost to access the area, ultimately demotivating persons from visiting.In this regard, he said steps are being made to develop infrastructure to make it more accessible to visit Iwokrama.Currently, the Fairview airstrip, just minutes from Iwokrama River Lodge, is being transformed with an extended runway and the construction of an aerodrome.Upon completion, it is expected that visitors can reach Iwokrama in less than an hour when travelling from the Eugene F. Correia Airport in Ogle.Via the hinterland roads, persons can take up to 16 hours to arrive in Iwokrama.Iwokrama sees on average 1100-1300 tourists annually; a small number, but one which has grown in comparison to an average of 60 tourists annually up to 1999.last_img

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