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Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1854. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992 and the two countries are involved in an ongoing border dispute. Guatemala and Belize plan to hold a simultaneous referendum to determine if this dispute will go before the International Court of Justice at The Hague, though they have not yet set a date. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include the country's heavy foreign debt burden, high unemployment, growing involvement in the Mexican and South American drug trade, high crime rates, and one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS in Central America.


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Economy

Economy - overview
Tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner in this small economy, followed by exports of marine products, citrus, cane sugar, bananas, and garments. The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to GDP growth averaging nearly 4% in 1999-2007. Oil discoveries in 2006 bolstered this growth. Exploration efforts have continued and production has increased a small amount. In February 2007, the government restructured nearly all of its public external commercial debt, which helped reduce interest payments and relieved some of the country's liquidity concerns. Growth slipped to 0% in 2009, 2.7% in 2010, and 2.5% in 2011 as a result of the global slowdown, natural disasters, and a temporary drop in the price of oil. With weak economic growth and a large public debt burden, fiscal spending is likely to be tight. A key government objective remains the reduction of poverty and inequality with the help of international donors. Although Belize has the second highest per capita income in Central America, the average income figure masks a huge income disparity between rich and poor. The 2010 Poverty Assessment shows that more than 4 out of 10 people live in poverty. The sizable trade deficit and heavy foreign debt burden continue to be major concerns.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 180
$2.836 billion (2011 est.)
$2.767 billion (2010 est.)
$2.693 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$1.474 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 134
2.5% (2011 est.)
2.7% (2010 est.)
0% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 123
$8,400 (2011 est.)
$8,300 (2010 est.)
$8,200 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 9.7%
Industry 19.8%
Services 70.5% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 179
120,500
Note
Shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 10.2%
Industry 18.1%
Services 71.7% (2007 est.)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 137
13.1% (2009)
8.2% (2008)

Population below poverty line
43% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% NA%
Highest 10% NA%

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 40
25.3% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget
Revenues $400 million
Expenditures $450 million (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 112
27.1% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 111
-3.4% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 18
84.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
83.3% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 20
1.8% (2011 est.)
0.9% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate World Ranking: 20
18% (31 December 2010 est.)
12% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 57
13.36% (31 December 2011 est.)
13.9% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 165
$419.6 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$354 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 165
$1.101 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.045 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 159
$968 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$972 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares
$NA

Agriculture - products
Bananas, cacao, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp; lumber

Industries
Garment production, food processing, tourism, construction, oil

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 132
1.4% (2010 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 173
215.5 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 181
200.4 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 98
4,252 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 160
7,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 135
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 145
7,326 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 93
6.7 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 152
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 151
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 61
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 155
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 151
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 63
-$31.3 million (2011 est.)
-$45.7 million (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 167
$603.3 million (2011 est.)
$475.7 million (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood, crude oil

Exports - partners
US 37.7%, UK 16.4%, Costa Rica 9.9%, Nigeria 4.3% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 184
$773.9 million (2011 est.)
$647.2 million (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco

Imports - partners
US 38.5%, Mexico 10.5%, Cuba 9.2%, Guatemala 5.5%, China 5.1%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.1% (2011)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 154
$237.1 million (31 December 2011 est.)
$218 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external World Ranking: 152
$1.079 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.093 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Exchange rates
Belizean dollars (BZD) per US dollar -
2 (2011 est.)
2 (2010 est.)
2 (2009)
2 (2008)
2 (2007)

Fiscal year
1 April - 31 March


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  Belize (Belmopan):


  GPS points from Belize (Belmopan)

Placentia Lagoon Stann Creek District

Millionario Cayo District

Corozal Orange Walk District

Paslow Fall Cayo District

Turnback Cairn Cayo District

Red Rock Toledo District

Big Creek Stann Creek District

Western Lagoon Orange Walk District




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