Posted: Thursday, September 21, 2023. 12:49 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Even the dreaded International Monetary Fund (IMF) agrees, says Prime Minister John Briceño: Belize has and will continue to outperform economic expectations in 2023.
That was the conclusion, he noted in his Independence Day address, of their mid-year review meeting last week – and the statistics are there to back it up despite ongoing problems of inflation, man-made war and climate change that impacts Belize despite having nothing to do with its genesis.
“In sum, then, the economy is booming. Belizeans are working. Our dollar peg is safe, and the medium-term prospects are exceptionally promising,” the P.M. summarized.
Most notable of those statistics is the gaudy 2.8 percent unemployment rate recorded in April by the Statistical Institute – the closest Belize has ever come, the Prime Minister said, to full employment of the labour force. Domestic inflation is expected to fall from 6.1 percent in 2022 to 3.7 percent in 2023 – and the Government has managed to reduce debt to 60 percent of GDP as a result of savings on the Super Bond and agreements with Venezuela.
And there is greater interest in investment in Belize if the recent Investment Summit on Ambergris Caye is anything to go by, with a focus on the blue, green and orange economies.
Investments have been made in energy with the $144 million Saudi-funded 60-megawatt solar farm; in health with the country’s national university to obtain its first teaching hospital and tertiary-level health care facility in Belmopan; in education affecting thousands of youths nationwide; in citizen security and especially infrastructure.
And in the area of environment, the Prime Minister announced that construction of a facility by investors seeking to convert sargassum to fuel, following a visit by those investors and designers of the project last week, should be underway by next year.
The Prime Minister concluded by renewing his commitment to “a more equitable, a more prosperous and more inclusive nation, at peace with itself and with its neighbors,” restating the September Celebrations theme as the guide to “keep ever moving forward.”
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