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  Belize  
Flag of Belize
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  Introduction
  Geography
  People
  Government
  Economy
  Communications
  Transportation
  Military
  Transnational Issues

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Map of Belize

DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Belize
Background:
Definition Field Listing
Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize (formerly British Honduras) until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. The country remains plagued by high unemployment, growing involvement in the South American drug trade, and increased urban crime.

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   Geography    Belize
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
17 15 N, 88 45 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 22,966 sq km
land: 22,806 sq km
water: 160 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Massachusetts
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 516 km
border countries: Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
386 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm in the north, 3 nm in the south; note - from the mouth of the Sarstoon River to Ranguana Cay, Belize's territorial sea is 3 nm; according to Belize's Maritime Areas Act, 1992, the purpose of this limitation is to provide a framework for the negotiation of a definitive agreement on territorial differences with Guatemala
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Victoria Peak 1,160 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 2.85%
permanent crops: 1.71%
other: 95.44% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
30 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south)
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid and sewage waste disposal
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean

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   People    Belize
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
272,945 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 40.6% (male 56,530; female 54,322)
15-64 years: 55.8% (male 77,118; female 75,309)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 4,674; female 4,992) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 19.1 years
male: 19 years
female: 19.3 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.39% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
29.89 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.04 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 26.37 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 29.75 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 22.82 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 67.43 years
male: 65.11 years
female: 69.86 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.77 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.4% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,600 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Belizean(s)
adjective: Belizean
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
mestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Maya 10.6%, Garifuna 6.1%, other 9.7%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Roman Catholic 49.6%, Protestant 27% (Anglican 5.3%, Methodist 3.5%, Mennonite 4.1%, Seventh-Day Adventist 5.2%, Pentecostal 7.4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.5%), none 9.4%, other 14% (2000)
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.1%
male: 94.1%
female: 94.1% (2003 est.)

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   Government    Belize
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Belize
former: British Honduras
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
parliamentary democracy
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Belmopan
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
21 September 1981 (from UK)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 21 September (1981)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
21 September 1981
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
English law
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Colville YOUNG, Sr. (since 17 November 1993)
head of government: Prime Minister Said Wilbert MUSA (since 28 August 1998); Deputy Prime Minister John BRICENO (since 1 September 1998)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (12 members appointed by the governor general - six on the advice of the prime minister, three on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and one each on the advice of the Belize Council of Churches and Evangelical Association of Churches, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Better Business Bureau, and the National Trade Union Congress and the Civil Society Steering Committee; members are appointed for five-year terms) and the House of Representatives (29 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held 5 March 2003 (next to be held NA March 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PUP 21, UDP 8
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
People's United Party or PUP [Said MUSA]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Dean BARROW, party leader; Douglas SINGH, party chairman]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Society for the Promotion of Education and Research or SPEAR [Adele CATZIM]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Lisa M. SHOMAN
chancery: 2535 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-9636
FAX: [1] (202) 332-6888
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Russell F. FREEMAN
embassy: 29 Gabourel Lane and Hutson Street, Belize City
mailing address: P. O. Box 286, Unit 7401, APO AA 34025
telephone: [501] 227-7161 through 7163
FAX: [501] 30802
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
blue with a narrow red stripe along the top and the bottom edges; centered is a large white disk bearing the coat of arms; the coat of arms features a shield flanked by two workers in front of a mahogany tree with the related motto SUB UMBRA FLOREO (I Flourish in the Shade) on a scroll at the bottom, all encircled by a green garland

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   Economy    Belize
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
In this small, essentially private enterprise economy the tourism industry is the number one foreign exchange earner followed by cane sugar, citrus, marine products, bananas, and garments. The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to GDP growth of 6.5% in 1999, 10.8% in 2000, 4.6% in 2001, and 3.7% in 2002. Major concerns continue to be the sizable trade deficit and foreign debt. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $1.28 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.7% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $4,900 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 22.7%
industry: 24.5%
services: 52.8% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
33% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
33% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.6% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
90,000
note: shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 27%, industry 18%, services 55% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.1% (2002)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $222 million
expenditures: $300 million, including capital expenditures of $70 million (2003 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
bananas, coca, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp; lumber; garments
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
garment production, food processing, tourism, construction
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.6% (1999)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
199.5 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
185.5 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-142 million (2003)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$207.8 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 39.3%, UK 25.1%, France 4% (2003 est.)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$500.6 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 39%, Mexico 11.6%, Netherlands Antilles 6.2%, UK 5.5%, Cuba 5.2% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$84.7 million (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$475 million (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
Belizean dollar (BZD)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
BZD
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Belizean dollars per US dollar - 2 (2003), 2 (2002), 2 (2001), 2 (2000), 2 (1999)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 April - 31 March

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   Communications    Belize
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
33,300 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
60,400 (2003)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: above-average system
domestic: trunk network depends primarily on microwave radio relay
international: country code - 501; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 1, FM 12, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
2 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.bz
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2,613 (2003)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
30,000 (2002)

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   Transportation    Belize
Highways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 2,872 km
paved: 488 km
unpaved: 2,384 km (1999 est.)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
825 km (navigable only by small craft) (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Belize City, Big Creek, Corozol, Punta Gorda
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 336 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,015,270 GRT/1,336,890 DWT
by type: bulk 13, cargo 240, chemical tanker 11, combination bulk 4, combination ore/oil 1, container 10, multi-functional large load carrier 1, petroleum tanker 27, refrigerated cargo 18, roll on/roll off 8, short-sea/passenger 1, specialized tanker 2
foreign-owned: Bahamas 2, Belgium 1, British Virgin Islands 11, Cambodia 6, China 67, Cuba 2, Cyprus 1, Ecuador 1, Estonia 8, Germany 5, Greece 2, Grenada 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 27, Indonesia 4, Italy 2, Japan 5, Jordan 1, South Korea 13, Latvia 5, Liberia 2, Malaysia 4, Malta 1, Isle of Man 1, Marshall Islands 16, Mexico 1, Netherlands 1, Nigeria 2, Panama 15, Philippines 4, Portugal 1, Russia 9, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Singapore 9, Spain 6, Switzerland 2, Taiwan 1, Thailand 3, Tunisia 1, Turkey 2, Ukraine 3, United Kingdom 1, United States 3, Yemen 1
registered in other countries: 25 (2003 est.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
43 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 38
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 26 (2003 est.)

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   Military    Belize
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Belize Defense Force (includes Army, Maritime Wing, Air Wing, and Volunteer Guard)
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 68,518 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 40,619 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 3,122 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$18 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2% (2003)

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   Transnational Issues    Belize
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Guatemalan squatters continue to settle along the border region; an OAS brokered Differendum in 2002 created a small adjustment to the land boundary, a large Guatemalan maritime corridor in Caribbean, a joint ecological park for disputed Sapodilla Cays, and a substantial US-UK financial package, but agreement was not brought to popular referendum leaving Guatemala to continue to claim the southern half of Belize
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
major transshipment point for cocaine; small-scale illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; money-laundering activity related to narcotics trafficking and offshore sector

Large portions of this information is from the US government open source publication "The World Factbook", other content copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. You may use this information without permission for educational or other non-profit purposes if you refer to us as the source, contact us if you want to use this commercially.


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