Facts about Belize
|Population||301,270 (July 2008 est.)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)|
Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico
General info about Belize
Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1854. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include an unsustainable foreign debt, high unemployment, growing involvement in the South American drug trade, growing urban crime, and increasing incidences of HIV/AIDS.
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and
Spanish 46%, Creole 32.9%, Mayan dialects 8.9%, English 3.9% (official), Garifuna 3.4% (Carib), German 3.3%, other 1.4%, unknown 0.2% (2000 census)
What about drugs?
transshipment point for cocaine; small-scale illicit producer of cannabis, primarily for local consumption; money-laundering activity related to narcotics trafficking and offshore sector
mestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Maya 10.6%, Garifuna 6.1%, other 9.7% (2000 census)
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
2.4% (2003 est.)
tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)
arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower
In this small, essentially private-enterprise economy, tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner followed by exports of marine products, citrus, cane sugar, bananas, and garments. The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to sturdy GDP growth averaging nearly 4% in 1999-2007, though growth slipped below 3% in 2008 as a result of the global slowdown. Oil discoveries in 2006 bolstered the economic growth. Exploration efforts continue though no new production is expected in 2009. Major concerns continue to be the sizable trade deficit and unsustainable foreign debt equivalent to nearly 90% of GDP. In February 2007, the government restructured nearly all of its public external commercial debt, which will reduce interest payments and relieve liquidity concerns. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.
deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid and sewage waste disposal
Cities in Belizebelize belmopan benque viejo corozal dangriga orange walk punta gorda san ignacio san pedro