Economy of Belize

Economy of Belize

According to businesscarriers, GDP in current prices in 2001 was 883.3 million, per capita – 3330 US dollars. The average annual growth rate of the economy in 1999-2002 reached 6.6%. Inflation in 1997-2002 decreased from 6.4% to 2.3% per year. The number of employed exceeded 90 thousand people, the unemployment rate for 1998-2002 decreased from 14.3 to 10.6% of the economically active population. The economy of Belize was based on logging for almost 300 years, in the 1960s. agricultural specialization prevailed, to which tourism and other types of services were added. In the structure of GDP, agriculture accounts for 9.6%, industry – 8.8%, construction – 7.1%, fish farming – 3.6%, energy – 2.9%, services – 69.0 % (2002). Employment distribution: agriculture – 27% (13% in the cultivation of sugarcane), industry – 11%, construction and energy – 7%,

There are 6 thermal power plants with a total capacity of 27 MW, St. 30% of electricity is generated by hydroelectric power plants on the Makal River. Part of the electricity has been purchased from Mexico since 1998. The volume of industrial production for 1984-2001 increased by 209%. St. 90% of products are produced by the food industry, incl. production of sugar (2001) – 53.4%, beverages – 17.5%, citrus concentrates – 11.3%. The garment industry accounts for 6.1%. In 1992, an export production zone was opened. Enterprises created in it are exempted from paying import duties and taxes (for 20 years – from income tax).

The area of agricultural land is 265 thousand acres, of which 146 thousand acres are used in agriculture, 119 thousand in animal husbandry. The most dynamic industry is the cultivation of oranges and grapefruits, the area under which from mid- 1980s increased from 12 to 82 thousand hectares. Until recently, sugar cane was the main agricultural crop, the only plant has a capacity of 150 thousand tons. The five-year program sets the goal of bringing the annual production of bananas to 70 thousand tons. Production of new export crops has begun: papayas, mangoes, pineapples, cayenne pepper. Corn and rice are grown for domestic consumption, and legumes are partially grown for export. Animal husbandry is poorly developed. Export of timber in the 1990s decreased by 15 times and is approx. 35 thousand m3. Industrial shrimp farming,

The length of motor roads is 2.9 thousand km, with a hard surface – 651 km, 805 km of local roads are used only in the dry season. Vehicle fleet – 22 thousand units. The largest ports are Belize City, Big Creek and Commerce Bight. The navy has St. 4,000 vessels, 95% of which are foreign, registered under the Belizean flag. Large ships with a displacement of St. 1 thousand tons – 315 with a total carrying capacity of 1.8 million tons. The length of inland waterways accessible to small-tonnage vessels is 825 km. 44 airfields, 4 of which are paved. International Airport F. Goldson serves 350 thousand passengers annually. Telephone communications are provided by BEL with a predominance of British capital. There are 305 devices and 135 personal computers per 1000 inhabitants (2001).

Foreign tourism gives St. 20% of GDP. There are 437 hotels with 4.7 thousand rooms (2002). The number of stationary tourists for 1997-2002 increased from 112.2 to 199.5 thousand. The number of cruise tourists in 2002 amounted to 319.0 thousand.

From con. 1980s structural reforms are being carried out, including privatization (energy, telecommunications, water supply, ports, etc.), liberalization of foreign trade and admission of foreign capital. The process of foreign trade liberalization was completed in 2000 with a reduction in the maximum customs tariff rate to 20%. The most important measure in the social field is the program for providing cheap housing, within the framework of which 8,000 houses have been built.

The Central Bank is subordinate to the Ministry of Finance and pursues an expansionary monetary policy. Since 1976, the exchange rate of the national currency has been fixed at a ratio of 2:1 to the US dollar. During 1996-2002, the volume of domestic loans increased from 538 to 909 million Belize dollars. There are 4 commercial banks, 15 credit unions and 17 insurance companies. Since 1990 Belize has become the center of international offshore business. The number of registered offshore companies exceeded 20 thousand. The assets of 4 offshore banks reached 164 million US dollars.

The ratio of the amount of taxes and GDP is approx. 20%. The primary state budget deficit increased from 2.4% to 11.9% of GDP in 1998–2001, reduced to 5% in 2002/03. Public debt for 1994-2002 increased from 47 to 91% of GDP.

Export for 1997-2002 increased from 159.1 million to 180.6 million dollars, taking into account re-export to 310.4 million, import – from 312.7 million to 500.3 million dollars. USA. Food products account for 88.9% of exports (citrus juices and concentrates – 26.4%, sugar – 17.7%, shrimp – 12.8%, bananas – 10.8%), clothing – 9.5% ( 2001). Re-exports are dominated by oil products, machinery and equipment. Machinery and equipment account for 28.7%, semi-finished products – 17.1%, fuel – 15.6%, food – 14% of imports. Main trading partners (2002): in terms of exports – the USA (36.8%), Great Britain (22.5%), other EU countries and CARICOM countries (6.7% each); imports – USA (33.4%), Cuba (9.0%), Mexico (7.1%), CARICOM countries (4.9%). Since 1995, a free trade zone has been operating in Corozal County, which borders Mexico. In 2003, a free zone was created at the international airport. In 1997–2002, the state external debt increased from $241 million to $525 million, and its ratio to GDP increased from 37 to 62% (80%, taking into account state-guaranteed debt). Servicing external debt (21% of proceeds from exports of goods and services and 54% of current government spending in 2002/03) is Belize’s main economic problem in the medium term.

GDP per capita at purchasing power parity of currencies – 4900 US dollars (2002). The poverty rate is defined as a monthly income of 105.8, poverty – 61.75 Belize dollars per capita. 33.3% of all Belizeans are below the poverty line, 10.8% are in poverty. In the least developed southern district of Toledo, 79% of residents live below the poverty line, and 47.2% live in poverty. The national average gap in income levels between the top 10% and the bottom 10% is 8.7 times, in Toledo County it is 21.8 times. The minimum wage is 2 Belize dollars per hour. 50 thousand inhabitants are exempted from paying income tax. Belize ranks 67th in the world in the Human Development Index.

Economy of Belize