Highlights — 20 December 2013 — by Adele Ramos
IDB’s new strategy for Belize

IDB Lending Scenarios – Belize

Scenarios

2014

2015

2016

TOTAL

High Scenario

$35 mil

$55 mil

$45 mil

$135 mil

Baseline Scenario

$35 mil

$30 mil

$20 mil

$85 mil

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)—one of Belize’s primary multilateral lenders—has approved a new country strategy with Belize. The main focus areas of the strategy are education, tourism, transport and trade and tax policy.

The IDB strategy notes that Belize has the second smallest population and the smallest economy of IDB borrowing members.

“Development progress has slowed in the last decade. Real GDP growth averaged only 3.2% from 2003-2012, per capita income (at US$4,706) has remained broadly unchanged in real terms since 2004, and poverty remains high at 41%,” the report says.

The IDB notes that the Country Strategy – Belize (CSB) for the period 2013-2017 aims to support the Government of Belize in improving public expenditure efficiency and effectiveness and promoting private sector development and sustainable export-led growth.

More specifically, one of the strategic objectives calls for improved road infrastructure to facilitate trade and integration and access to emerging tourist destinations. It says that the strategy is directed at achieving rehabilitated/upgraded road infrastructure, including climate resilience and road safety standards.

As detailed in the accompanying chart, the IDB is proposing two financing scenarios for sovereign guaranteed lending.

The baseline scenario contemplates US$85 million in lending concentrated in four or five investment loans, while the high scenario adds financial support for policy reforms for a total of up to US$135 million.

“The IDB’s new strategy with Belize will help the government address the country’s needs by supporting greater efficiency in public spending and improving the conditions for sustainable, export-led growth through institutional strengthening and infrastructure investments in key sectors of the economy”, said Anneke Jessen, IDB Representative in Belize.

A statement on the launch of the strategy said that “the IDB will help the government develop a National Transport Master Plan to identify the main challenges in roads, ports, air travel and public transport and set priorities for improving the system’s quality and integration with regional transport links. The Bank moreover plans to finance the expansion or rehabilitation of roads that foster trade or improved access to tourism sites, paying close attention to climate resilience and road safety standards.”

“The IDB, the main source of multilateral lending for Latin America and the Caribbean, has supported Belize since the country became a borrowing member in 1992. The Bank’s current portfolio in Belize includes six loans for US$51.4 million, supporting tourism, citizen security, water and sanitation, solid waste and flood mitigation, as well as over US$10 million in technical assistance and investment grants,” the statement added.

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