Upon gaining independence, Guyana followed a socialist strategy for development. Major productive sectors were controlled either through government investment or through price controls and foreign exchange rationing. Since 1990 Guyana has pursued an economic policy where state control has been reduced by privatization .
Agriculture accounted for approximately 35 percent of the GDP in 1998, with the main products being sugar, coffee, cocoa, coconut and edible oils, copra, fruit, vegetables, and tobacco. In 1995, the total area of forestland totaled 18.58 million hectares (46 acres). Guyana and neighboring Suriname were the world's most heavily forested countries in 1995. About 25 percent of the country's energy needs are met by woodfuel. Timber production in 1996 was 580,000 cubic meters. Total fish catches in 1995 came to approximately 46,000 metric tons, of which more than 98 percent was from marine sources.
Industry generated 32.5 percent of the GDP in 1998, with the main activities being agro-processing (sugar, rice, timber, and coconut) and mining (gold and diamonds). There is a light manufacturing sector, and textiles
Services accounted for about 33 percent of the GDP in 1998. The service sector is comprised mainly of banking and financial services, post and telecommunications, transport, tourism, hotels and restaurants, and public administration.