An upper middle income country with a GDP per capita (PPP) of US$8486 in 2014, Belize has undergone a significant transformation over the last decade resulting from the first commercial oil discovery in 2005 and emergence of the tourism industry. Its global comparative advantage is derived from its natural resource base, which supports the tourism and agriculture sectors, and its advantageous  proximity to major markets.

While Belize's economy has traditionally been oriented towards agriculture (sugar and citrus industries), the services sector grew during the 1990s and has been the largest contributor, accounting for 54% of GDP.

Poverty in Belize has substantially increased in recent years due to a stagnant economy and the impact of natural disasters. The latest 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%.The highest economic inequality is concentrated among indigenous Mayan communities.

The economy expanded by 3.6 percent in 2014, more than double the rate in 2013. Increased activities in the agricultural and tourism sectors helped to solidify the growth outturn. Oil production however, continued to decline in the context of the gradual depletion of the exploited oil fields. .

Over the medium-term, real GDP growth is expected to hover around 2.5% a year as declining oil production would be offset by higher output of other commodity exports, tourism and construction.

The country’s high debt levels (76% in 2014) and increasing fiscal pressures remain a persistent challenge for policymakers.

Last Updated: Sep 08, 2015

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.

Last Updated: Sep 08, 2015

The Climate Resilience Improvement Project ($30 million), approved by the Board in July 2014, 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 approved by the Board of Directors in March 2015.

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: Sep 08, 2015


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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments