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Belize delegation attends 37th IDB Governors Meeting

HighlightsBelize delegation attends 37th IDB Governors Meeting

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Fri. Feb. 9, 2024

A delegation of government officials from Belize was in Antigua, Guatemala from February 5 to 6, attending the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) 37th Meeting of Governors of the Central American Isthmus and the Dominican Republic.

The Belizean delegation was comprised of Hon. Christopher Coye, Minister of State for the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development, and Investment, who also led the delegation; Dr. Osmond Martinez, CEO of the Ministry of Economic Development; Mrs. Elvira Mendez, Belize Counselor at IDB; and H.E. Jose Alpuche, Belize’s ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala.

The meeting was centered on engaging in critical discussions on regional economic integration, infrastructure development, and bilateral cooperation.

The delegation from Belize met with Ilan Goldfajn, President of IDB, and discussed the IDB’s new institutional strategy supporting regional economic integration. Areas of integration opportunities underscored included the contemplated expansion of the Pacific Corridor Initiative to include Belize as an Atlantic/Caribbean Corridor and Southern Mexico access alternative.

“The topic was centered on regional integration, [and] they totally agreed that Belize now, not only becoming the main corridor to connect Central America to Mexico and the United States via road, but also the main distributor that can become to work as a regional integration for the Caribbean communities. Then, we can use our road infrastructures to connect Central America to North America …also our port, so that our port be more active, so that our port be modernized, to the point it can be automated, where it can be mobilized, a lot more goods that can serve as a regional hub,” said Dr. Martinez.

In another area of importance, the Central American Electric Interconnection System (SIEPAC) and renewable energy were discussed, to see the possibility of the country becoming a significant energy partner through SIEPAC, an interconnection project spanning six Central American countries.

Lastly, a discussion was held about the likelihood of monetizing carbon credits with IDB, serving the role of a market maker in this regard, as IDB has shown interest in the need to recognize Belize’s carbon credit as a natural capital asset.

During the two-day conference, the delegation met with Guatemala’s Minister of Public Finance, Jonathan Menkos, to discuss the formalization of the Jalacte Border in the Toledo District, along with enhancing the banking relationships between Belize and Guatemala, and streamlining the exportation of bananas to and through Guatemala to other Central American countries, including El Salvador.

“The Belizean market is small, so there [is] a lot of bananas that go to waste, and that’s not good for the productive sector because there [is] a lot of money that is being invested, in terms of producing the bananas. Therefore, when there are about 20% wasted bananas, that means there are 20% operational losses for the banana farmers. Hence, finding an opportunity to sell that 20% that wouldn’t qualify in the European market will alleviate some of the cashflow constraints that they have, and at the same time, help the country to generate more revenue and economic activities through the transportation of these bananas to the border,” Dr. Martinez added.

Note that the meeting of the Belize delegation was a constituency meeting, and the annual meeting will be held from March 6 to 10.

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