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Inter-American Development Bank and Belize reinforce their partnership with the signing of 3 Operations and an Investment Grant

Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2023. 2:16 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: On February 22, 2023, the new president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Ilan Goldfajn, and Prime Minister of Belize, John Briceño, signed 3 loan projects and one investment grant for the country.

The signing took place during the 36th IDB Meeting of the Governors of the Central American Isthmus and the Dominican Republic, hosted by Belize and attended by IDB Governors of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama.

This is a preparatory meeting for the upcoming IDB and IDB Invest Board of Governors Annual Meeting that will take place in Panama on March 16-19.

This was the first official visit to Latin America and the Caribbean of President Goldfajn since taking office.

The 3 operations and the investment grant, as well as the project visited during the trip, align with the institution’s priorities that he presented to the Governors: emphasizing social issues as education, gender equality, and migration; tackling climate change; and investing in sustainable physical and digital infrastructure to boost productivity.

 The Digital Innovation Program to Promote the Economic Development of Belize, signed for a total amount of US$10 million, will promote the digitalization of companies and public services to foster growth and increase the efficiency of the economy, which will result in cost reductions for citizens and the improvement of the digital capacities of women-led companies.

The second project signed was the Trade and Investment Facilitation Program, for US$8 million.

It aims to promote foreign direct investment and commercial performance of Belize, to benefit both investors as well as local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) with export potential, with an emphasis on women-led businesses. It seeks to facilitate the investment process and promotion, integrate local MSMEs into distribution chains, linking them with large companies, and expanding access to markets and exports.

 Finally, with the signing of the Sustainable and Inclusive Belize Program, the country is taking an important step towards improving income and promoting sustainable livelihoods in the agriculture and tourism sectors — the main drivers of the country’s economy.

 It seeks to benefit 300 MSMEs and 1,500 producers in the agricultural and tourism sector, positively impacting economic empowerment of indigenous groups, women and Afro-descendants.

The program includes resources from a loan operation for US$15 million and an investment grant for US$800,000 from the Migration Facility to support migrant communities to develop activities in the agriculture and tourism sectors.

The IDB Group approved US$47.8 million in resources for Belize in 2022, including investment loans and technical cooperation grants to strengthen both the public and private sectors, with a focus on MSMEs since these enterprises encompass 98% of Belizean businesses and contribute to 45% of GDP and 70% of private sector employment.

 

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