WASHINGTON, May 30, 2017 – Today, the Board of Executive Directors endorsed a new World Bank Group (WBG) five-year Country Partnership Framework in support of Belize’s efforts to strengthen the resilience of its economy and promote opportunities for all Belizeans.
“I am pleased that the World Bank supports Belize’s medium-term development plan by helping build climate resilience and promote financial inclusion and social resilience in the country,” said Yvonne Hyde, Chief Executive Officer at the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce.
Belize’s economy relies on tourism and agro-business as its two main drivers of growth. Tourism employs 28 percent of the population and represents 21 percent of GDP. As a small and open economy, the country is highly exposed to external shocks and is vulnerable to extreme weather events -- with average annual losses from natural disasters amounting to almost four percent of GDP.
“The new strategy deepens our medium term partnership with Belize in selective areas and retains flexibility to respond to emerging country needs including in areas of fiscal sustainability and financial stability. It will support country efforts to promote sustainable growth and provide livelihood opportunities, particularly the most vulnerable,” said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. “The World Bank Group will provide financial assistance and knowledge services to strengthen country priorities aimed at reducing economic, climatic and social vulnerabilities while building financial inclusion.”
The Country Partnership Framework (CPF) will support the country’s efforts for reducing poverty and boosting prosperity, and will focus on two main areas: building climate resilience and promoting financial inclusion and social resilience. On climate resilience and environment sustainability, the WBG will contribute to strengthening roads and electricity distribution infrastructure to be better equipped for extreme weather events, as well as protecting and improving the management of forest and marine ecosystems in coastal areas. On financial inclusion and social resilience, the WBG will support measures for enhancing financial sector infrastructure, increasing access to finance, as well as improving youth employability through targeted skills training and support to at-risk youth.
Guided by the findings of the Systematic Country Diagnostics, the CPF benefited from extensive engagement with the Government, civil society representatives and development partners. It is a joint product of the WBG, comprised of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
Together with the World Bank, IFC, the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector, will provide analytical and technical assistance on financial sector infrastructure under the IFC’s Caribbean Credit Bureau Program and the Caribbean Collateral Registries Program, and the Bank’s Payment and Settlement Systems Program. WBG’s advisory support will assist in establishing the institutional framework to improve access to finance for the private sector, including micro, small and medium-sized businesses, thereby expanding the prospects to further leverage private investments.
"IFC helps companies create jobs, promote growth, and improve people's lives. This new strategy aligns our advisory services with the needs in Belize to make a greater impact together," said Judith Green, IFC Head for the English-Speaking Caribbean. “Our Caribbean Credit Bureau Program and Collateral Registries Program have played a vital role in increasing financial inclusion in the region.”
The World Bank currently has a portfolio of five projects including IBRD financing and trust funds, and IFC has a program of advisory services.
Last Updated: May 30, 2017