Belize 2002Belize

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Belize - Introduction 2002
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Background: Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize (formerly British Honduras) until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. The country remains plagued by high unemployment growing involvement in the South American drug trade and increased urban crime.

Belize - Geography 2002
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Location: Middle America bordering the Caribbean Sea between Guatemala and Mexico

Geographic coordinates: 17 15 N 88 45 W

Map referenceCentral America and the Caribbean

Total: 22,966 km²
Water: 160 km²
Land: 22,806 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than Massachusetts

Land boundaries
Total: 516 km
Border countries: (2) Guatemala 266 km; , Mexico 250 km

Coastline: 386 km

Maritime claims
Exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Territorial sea: 12 NM in the north, 3 NM in the south; note - from the mouth of the Sarstoon River to Ranguana Cay, Belize's territorial sea is 3 NM; according to Belize's Maritime Areas Act, 1992, the purpose of this limitation is to provide a framework for the negotiation of a definitive agreement on territorial differences with Guatemala

Climate: tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)

Terrain: flat swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south

Extremes lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
Extremes highest point: Victoria Peak 1,160 m

Natural resources: arable land: potential timber fish hydropower
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 2.81%
Permanent crops: 1.1%
Other: 96.09% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 30 km² (1998 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: frequent devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south)

Note: only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean

Belize - People 2002
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Population: 262,999 (July 2002 est.)
Growth rate: 2.65% (2002 est.)
Below poverty line: 33% (1999 est.)

Noun: Belizean
Adjective: Belizean

Ethnic groups: mestizo 48.7% Creole 24.9% Maya 10.6% Garifuna 6.1% other 9.7%

Languages: English (official) Spanish Mayan Garifuna (Carib) Creole

Religions: Roman Catholic 49.6% Protestant 27% (Anglican 5.3% Methodist 3.5% Mennonite 4.1% Seventh-Day Adventist 5.2% Pentecostal 7.4% Jehovah's Witnesses 1.5%) none 9.4% other 14% (2000)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 41.6% (male 55,716; female 53,581)
15-64 years: 54.9% (male 73,068; female 71,368)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 4,511; female 4,755) (2002 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 2.65% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 31.08 births/1000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 4.6 deaths/1000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (2002 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; water pollution from sewage industrial effluents agricultural runoff; solid and sewage waste disposal
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
International agreements signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male/female
Under 15 years: 1.04 male/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male/female
65 years and over: 0.95 male/female
Total population: 1.03 male/female (2002 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 24.31 deaths/1000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 71.46 years
Female: 73.87 years (2002 est.)
Male: 69.17 years

Total fertility rate: 3.96 children born/woman (2002 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Adult prevalence rate: 2.01% (1999 est.)
People living with hivaids: 2,400 (1999 est.)
Deaths: 170 (1999 est.)

Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 70.3%
Male: 70.3%
Female: 70.3% (1991 est.)
Note: other sources list the literacy rate as high as 75%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Belize - Government 2002
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Country name
Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: Belize
Former: British Honduras

Government type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Belmopan

Administrative divisions: 6 districts; Belize Cayo Corozal Orange Walk Stann Creek Toledo

Dependent areas

Independence: 21 September 1981 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day 21 September (1981)

Constitution: 21 September 1981

Legal system: English law

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Colville YOUNG, Sr. (since 17 November 1993)
Head of government: Prime Minister Said Wilbert MUSA (since 28 August 1998); Deputy Prime Minister John BRICENO (since 1 September 1998)
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
Elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister

Legislative branch
Elections: House of Representatives - last held 5 March 2003 (next to be held NA March 2008)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PUP 21, UDP 8

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister)

Political parties and leaders: People's United Party or PUP [Said MUSA]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Dean BARROW party leader; Douglas SINGH party chairman]


Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Lisa M. SHOMAN
In the us consulates general: Los Angeles
In the us fax: [1] (202) 332-6,888
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 332-9,636
In the us chancery: 2,535 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Russell F. FREEMAN
From the us embassy: 29 Gabourel Lane and Hutson Street, Belize City
From the us mailing address: P. O. Box 286, Unit 7,401, APO AA 34,025
From the us telephone: [501] 227-7,161
From the us fax: [501] 230-802

Flag descriptionflag of Belize: blue with a narrow red stripe along the top and the bottom edges; centered is a large white disk bearing the coat of arms; the coat of arms features a shield flanked by two workers in front of a mahogany tree with the related motto SUB UMBRA FLOREO (I Flourish in the Shade) on a scroll at the bottom all encircled by a green garland

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Belize - Economy 2002
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Economy overview: The small essentially private enterprise economy is based primarily on agriculture agro-based industry and merchandising with tourism and construction assuming greater importance. Sugar the chief crop accounts for nearly half of exports while the banana industry is the country's largest employer. The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies initiated in September 1998 led to GDP growth of 6.4% in 1999 and 10.5% in 2000. Growth decelerated in 2001 to 3% due to the global slowdown and severe hurricane damage to agriculture fishing and tourism. Major concerns continue to be the rapidly expanding trade deficit and foreign debt. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 3% (2001 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 18%
Industry: 24%
Services: 58% (2001 est.)

Agriculture products: bananas coca citrus sugarcane; lumber; fish cultured shrimp

Industries: garment production food processing tourism construction

Industrial production growth rate: 4.6% (1999) (1999)

Labor force
Note: shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel (1997 est.)
By occupation agriculture: 27%
By occupation industry: 18%
By occupation services: 55% (2001 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 11.5% (2000) (2000)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: 33% (1999 est.)

Gini index

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

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $186 million
Expenditures: $253 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.) (2000 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 1.7% (2001 est.)

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $239.6 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Commodities: sugar bananas citrus clothing fish products molasses wood
Partners: EU 45% (UK 33%) US 42% Caricom 6% Canada 1% (1999)

Imports: $505 million c.i.f. (2001 est.)
Commodities: machinery and transportation equipment manufactured goods; food beverages tobacco; fuels chemicals pharmaceuticals
Partners: US 51% Mexico 12% Central America 5% UK 4% (1999)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $500 million (2000 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Belizean dollars per US dollar - 2.0000 (fixed rate pegged to the US dollar)

Belize - Energy 2002
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 192 million kWh (2000)
By source fossil fuel: 58%
By source hydro: 42%
By source other: 0% (2000)
By source nuclear: 0%

Electricity consumption: 178.56 million kWh (2000)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (2000)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (2000)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Belize - Communication 2002
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: 3,023 (1997)

Telephone system
General assessment: above-average system
Domestic: trunk network depends primarily on microwave radio relay
International: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .bz

Internet users: 18,000 (2002)

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Belize - Military 2002
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $7.7 million (FY00/01)
Percent of gdp: 1.87% (FY00/01)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Belize - Transportation 2002
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 44 (2001)
With paved runways total: 4
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 1
With paved runways under 914 m: 2 (2002)
With unpaved runways total: 38
With unpaved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 1
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 10
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 27 (2002)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 4
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 2 (2002)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 38
2438 to 3047 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 10
Under 914 m: 27 (2002)



Railways: 0 km


Waterways: 825 km (river network used by shallow-draft craft; seasonally navigable)

Merchant marine
Total: 315 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,240,551 GRT/1,761,168 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 26, cargo 204, chemical tanker 6, combination ore/oil 1, container 12, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 39, refrigerated cargo 15, roll on/roll off 8, short-sea passenger 1, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 1
Note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Albania 2, Belgium 3, British Virgin Islands 6, Cambodia 1, China 38, Cyprus 1, Ecuador 1, Egypt 1, Equatorial Guinea 1, Eritrea 1, Estonia 7, Germany 3, Greece 4, Grenada 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 20, Indonesia 6, Italy 2, Japan 4, Jordan 1, Lebanon 1, Liberia 5, Malaysia 3, Malta 2, Man, Isle of 1, Marshall Islands 13, Mexico 1, Netherlands 1, Nigeria 1, Panama 12, Philippines 4, Portugal 1, Romania 1, Russia 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Saudi Arabia 1, Singapore 22, South Korea 10, Spain 4, Switzerland 1, Taiwan 1, Thailand 6, Tunisia 1, Turkey 1, Ukraine 3, United Arab Emirates 9, United Kingdom 2, United States 4, Virgin Islands (UK) 6, Yemen 1 (2002 est.)

Ports and terminals

Belize - Transnational issues 2002
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Disputes international: the 'Line of Adjacency' established in 2000 as an agreed limit to check squatters settling in Belize remains in place while the Organization of American States (OAS) assists states to resolve Guatemalan territorial claims in Belize and Guatemalan maritime access to the Caribbean Sea; Honduras claims the Sapodilla Cays off the coast of Belize

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: major transshipment point for cocaine; small-scale illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; some money-laundering activity related to offshore sector

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