A small, upper-middle income country with a population of  about 350 000 and a per capita income of US$ 6,130 (current, Atlas method) in 2015, Belize has undergone 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. Tourism employs 28 percent of the population and represents 21 percent of GDP while agriculture employs 10 percent of the labor force and contributes 13 percent of GDP, mostly through exports of sugar and tropical fruits. The country also hosts the largest living barrier reef in the world and is a paradise for divers and marine wildlife.

Its small-size economy, high dependence on exports and imports, and exposure to natural disasters make the country particularly vulnerable to terms-of-trade shocks and volatility. Real GDP growth slowed from 4.1 percent in 2014 to 0.9 in 2015, amid lower oil exports and decreased agricultural and fishery outputs. On the upside, the US economic expansion has boosted the tourism sector.  

Last Updated: Sep 20, 2016

The current World Bank Group Belize Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for FY2012 to 2015 focused on:

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

A new country partnership framework is under preparation and is expected to continue focusing on the same priority areas, including some support to private and financial sectors. IFC expanded its role in Belize during the FY12-FY15 CPS period through both its investment and advisory services.  IFC was active in the finance sector, supporting $7.31 million in trade transactions with Atlantic Bank through the Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP), and with Advisory Services through the Caribbean Regional Credit Bureau Program and the Caribbean Collateral Registries Program. These transactions provided short-term finance guarantees to stimulate international trade, provided assistance in drafting the credit bureau legislation and in assessing the need and scope for a secured transaction registry.

Last Updated: Sep 20, 2016

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

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

While the Bank’s lending envelope is  comparatively small, 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.

Under the Energy Resilience for Climate Adaptation Project, Belize will strengthen the climate resilience of its energy sector as a result of a US$8 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). This project aims to support the government’s continued efforts to make energy and power systems better prepared and more resilient to storms, hurricanes and natural hazards

Last Updated: Sep 19, 2016


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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments