GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Three of Guyana’s energy projects (micro-hydros) have been selected for funding by United Arab Emirates (UAE)-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, said the minister of public infrastructure, David Patterson, who is heading a delegation of three to the eighth session of the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi, which commenced on Saturday.

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Other members of the delegation were Guyana’s resident ambassador to Kuwait and alternate governor to the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Dr Shamir Ally, and permanent secretary in the ministry of infrastructure, Kenneth Jordan.

The UAE announced the landmark new $50 million grant fund for renewable energy projects in Caribbean, launched by Reem Al Hashimy, minister of state for international cooperation. The UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund represents one of the largest-ever single investments in the region’s clean energy sector, as well as a significant deepening of bilateral relationships between the UAE and Caribbean countries, the minister said.

Guyana was one seven Caribbean countries awarded grant funding for works to be commenced in the fourth quarter of 2018 and in early 2019, Patterson said on Sunday. The other Caribbean countries eligible to tap into the UAE fund are Belize, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, St Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia.

“We are honoured to open this new chapter in the growing relationship with Caribbean countries,” said Al Hashimy.

“The two oceans between us are not the barrier they once were, and we are bringing fresh eyes and enthusiasm to each other’s markets and aspirations. We’re especially pleased to join forces under the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, which can simultaneously drive achievement of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.

IRENA is an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy, according to the objectives posted on its official website.

Patterson said on his Facebook page on Sunday: “Full day at IRENA 8th Session, was a member of the Strategic Ministerial Plenary on Advancing the Renewable Energy Components of NDC.”

Guyana and the UAE have steadily improved ties. There have been more high level visits between the two countries, and recently the UAE appointed an ambassador to Guyana. Al Hashimy also visited Guyana last year and promised to improve ties.

While Guyana is now looking to secure investments from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to support its future oil and gas industry after recent discoveries of oil and gas off its Atlantic coast, it is yet to name Ally as ambassador to Abu Dhabi, Doha and Riyadh. The Guyana foreign ministry is very slow in moving this process forward, according to information out of Kuwait City and Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, some experts have claimed that Guyana didn’t skillfully negotiate a recent oil agreement with ExxonMobil, and that the country will be exploited by the US oil giant. On the other hand, some have concluded that “Guyana got a fair deal for a new oil country.”

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