Overview

A small, upper-middle income country with a population of  about 350 000 and a GDP per capita (PPP) of US$8 029 in 2014, Belize has undergone a significant economic transformation over the last two decades, mainly due to the growing tourism industry and to the commercial oil discovery in 2005. Tourism and Agriculture are the main sources of income and employment.

In the context of adverse shocks that affected Belize and other countries in the region, poverty and shared prosperity in Belize is likely to have worsened. The latest available Country Poverty Assessment showed that during the 2002-2009 period, the overall poverty rate increased from 34% to 42%, while extreme poverty increased from 11% to 16%. These ratios might have worsened more recently, especially because income per capita has stagnated since the early 2000s. Poverty rates across the country is very diverse, with the highest economic inequality being observed among indigenous Mayan communities.

Belize’s growth path appears to be characterized by volatility. It’s small-size economy, its high dependence on exports and imports, and its exposure to natural disasters make the country vulnerable to terms of trade shocks and create output volatility that can affect long-term growth. The economy decelerated to 1.7% in 2015, down from 4.1 in 2014, driven by the weather-related poor agriculture output. Over the medium-term, growth is expected to gain some momentum and real GDP growth should hover around 2.5% a year, as tourism and non-oil exports are expected to pick-up.

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2016

The World Bank Group Belize Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) supports the country's efforts to adopt a sustainable natural resource-based economic model, while enhancing Belize's resilience to climate change and natural hazards.

The current CPS includes three results areas:

  1. Policies and strategies for mainstreaming natural resources and climate resilience;
  2. Institutional strengthening for natural resource management and climate change and;
  3. Investments to strengthen climate resilience.

The Bank's program is complemented by support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, through its financing and advisory services, focused on the following areas: financial market development, access to finance, infrastructure, agribusiness and tourism, green construction and other climate resilient activities.

A series of consultations for developing a new country partnership framework will start in April 2016.

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2016

The Climate Resilience Improvement Project ($30 million), is an innovative project for climate resilience. The project is leveraging about a US$750k grant from the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction to improve road resilience and climate risk management for more than 170,000 Belizeans.

Belizeans is also strengthening the climate resilience of its Barrier Reef and adopt sustainable alternative livelihoods as a result of a US$5.53 million Adaptation Fund project.

While the Bank’s lending envelope is very limited, the Bank has managed to leverage additional funding from: i) the Japan Social Development Funds in Belize to promote Sustainable Natural Resource-Based Livelihoods; and improve Children’s Health and Nutrition in Poor Mayan Communities in Toledo, and ii) the Global Environment Facility to manage and protect key biodiversity areas.

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2016


LENDING

Belize: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments