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Belize

 
Flag of Belize
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Coordinates:
17.25 N  88.75 W

 
 
Introduction  Geography  People  Government  Economy
 
Communications  Transportation  Military  Transnational Issues

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Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Belize Top of Page
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. Current concerns include high unemployment, growing involvement in the South American drug trade, and increasing urban crime.
   Geography    Belize Top of Page
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 negotiating 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: 3.05%
permanent crops: 1.39%
other: 95.56% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
30 sq km (2003)
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
   People    Belize Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
287,730 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 39.5% (male 57,923/female 55,678)
15-64 years: 57% (male 82,960/female 81,046)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 4,888/female 5,235) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 19.6 years
male: 19.5 years
female: 19.8 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.31% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
28.84 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.72 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 0.93 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 24.89 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 28.07 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 68.3 years
male: 66.43 years
female: 70.26 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.6 children born/woman (2006 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% (Pentecostal 7.4%, Anglican 5.3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 5.2%, Mennonite 4.1%, Methodist 3.5%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.5%), other 14%, none 9.4% (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.)
   Government    Belize Top of Page
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:
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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 - 6 on the advice of the prime minister, 3 on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and 1 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 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, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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 Robert J. DIETER
embassy: 29 Gabourel Lane, Belize City
mailing address: P. O. Box 286, Belize City
telephone: [501] 227-7161 through 7163
FAX: [501] 2-30802
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
   Economy    Belize Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
In this small, essentially private-enterprise economy the tourism industry is the number one foreign exchange earner followed by 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 5% in 1999-2005. 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 (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.778 billion (2004 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$908 million (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.8% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$6,800 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 14.2%
industry: 15.2%
services: 61.2% (2004 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
12.9% (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
3% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17.8% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $262 million
expenditures: $329 million; including capital expenditures of $70 million (2005 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
120 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
111.6 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2003)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-$180 million (2005 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$349.9 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 30.6%, UK 25.1%, Jamaica 4.9%, France 4.8% (2005)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$622.4 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 29.9%, Mexico 10%, Russia 9%, Guatemala 6.2%, Cuba 6%, China 4.4%, Spain 4.2% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$87 million (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.362 billion (June 2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$NA
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Belizean dollar (BZD)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Belizean dollars per US dollar - 2 (2005), 2 (2004), 2 (2003), 2 (2002), 2 (2001)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 April - 31 March
   Communications    Belize Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
33,700 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
91,700 (2004)
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 - 8 (Intelsat - 2, unknown - 6) (2005)
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
3,846 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
35,000 (2005)
   Transportation    Belize Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
43 (2005)
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 (2005)
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 (2005)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 2,872 km
paved: 488 km
unpaved: 2,384 km (1999)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
825 km (navigable only by small craft) (2005)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 302 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,040,813 GRT/1,398,275 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 29, cargo 218, chemical tanker 8, container 6, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 13, roll on/roll off 5, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 173 (Belgium 1, China 71, Cyprus 2, Estonia 5, Germany 3, Hong Kong 8, Iceland 1, Indonesia 2, Italy 4, Japan 5, South Korea 5, Latvia 4, Malaysia 1, Mexico 1, Pakistan 1, Poland 2, Russia 33, Singapore 4, Spain 2, Switzerland 2, Turkey 8, Ukraine 3, UAE 3, US 2) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Belize City
   Military    Belize Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Belize Defense Force (BDF): Army, Maritime Wing, Air Wing, and Volunteer Guard
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age for voluntary military service; laws allow for conscription only if volunteers are insufficient; conscription has never been implemented; volunteers typically outnumber available positions by 3:1 (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 61,201
females age 18-49: 60,048 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 44,238
females age 18-49: 43,633 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 3,213
females age 18-49: 3,100 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$19 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.7% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Belize Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Guatemalan squatters continue to settle in the largely uninhabited rain forests of Belize's border region; OAS seeks to revive the 2002 failed Belize-Guatemala Differendum that created a small adjustment to land boundary, a Guatemalan maritime corridor in Caribbean, joint ecological park for disputed Sapodilla Cays, and substantial US-UK financial package
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
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

This page was last updated on 20 July, 2006


Source: CIA Factbook