Back to Front: Exploitative International JVs, limited access to financing and gaps in a well-intentioned local content law hinder Guyana’s SME growth potential

To front or not to front? That’s the billion-dollar question facing Guyanese businesses. Eager to tap into the South American country’s booming oil and gas industry, cash-strapped local enterprises  unable to access financing from the banking sector have instead turned to joint ventures partnerships with international companies who use the arrangement as a handy way to conform to the country’s local content laws. Their company had been operating – and successful – for over a decade before Exxon-Mobil discovered Guyana’s first economically viable crude oil deposit in 2015, kicking off the country’s multi-billion-dollar economic boom. The discovery was transformative.