A

Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Andorra
Angola
Anguilla
Antartica
Antigua & Barbuda
Arctic Ocean
Argentina
Armenia
Aruba
Ashmore & Cartier Islands
Atlantic Ocean
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan

B

Bahamas
Bahrain
Baker Island
Bangladesh
Barbados
Bassas da India
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bermuda
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Botswanna
Bouvet Island
Brazil
British Indian Ocean
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burma
Burundi

C

Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Cayman Islands
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Clipperton Island
Cocos Islands
Colombia
Comoros
Congo (DRC)
Congo
Cook Islands
Coral Sea Islands
Costa Rica
Cota D'Ivory
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republich

D

Denmark
Dijouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic

E

East Timor
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Europa Islands

F

Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
French Southern Antarctic Lands

G

Gabon
Gambia
Gaza Strip
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Gibraltar
Glorioso Islands
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guernsey
Guinea Bissau
Guinea Bissau
Guyana

H

Haiti
Heard Island and McDonald Islands
Honduras
Hong Kong
Howland Island
Hungary

I

Iceland
India
Indian Ocean
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Isle of Man
Isreal
Italy

J

Jamaica
Jan Mayen
Japan
Jarvis Island
Jersey
Johnston Atoll
Jordan
Juan de Nova

  Belize  
Flag of Belize
Click to enlarge
Categories Banner
 Introduction
 Geography
 People
 Government
 Economy
 Communications
 Transportation
 Military
 Transnational Issues
     

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Map of Belize



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Belize Top of Page
Background:

Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1854. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include an unsustainable foreign debt, high unemployment, growing involvement in the South American drug trade, growing urban crime, and increasing incidences of HIV/AIDS.

 

  
   Geography    Belize Top of Page
Location:

Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico
Geographic coordinates:

17 15 N, 88 45 W
Map references:

Central America and the Caribbean
Area:

total: 22,966 sq km
land: 22,806 sq km
water: 160 sq km
Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Massachusetts
Land boundaries:

total: 516 km
border countries: Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km
Coastline:

386 km
Maritime claims:

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:

tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)
Terrain:

flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south
Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Victoria Peak 1,160 m
Natural resources:

arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower
Land use:

arable land: 3.05%
permanent crops: 1.39%
other: 95.56% (2005)
Irrigated land:

30 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:

frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south)
Environment - current issues:

deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid and sewage waste disposal
Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:

only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean
   People    Belize Top of Page
Population:

294,385 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 38.9% (male 58,459/female 56,183)
15-64 years: 57.5% (male 85,686/female 83,717)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 4,979/female 5,361) (2007 est.)
Median age:

total: 19.9 years
male: 19.7 years
female: 20 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:

2.258% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:

28.34 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:

5.76 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.041 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.024 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.929 male(s)/female
total population: 1.027 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

total: 24.38 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 27.43 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 68.25 years
male: 66.44 years
female: 70.16 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:

3.52 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

2.4% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

3,600 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:

less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:

noun: Belizean(s)
adjective: Belizean
Ethnic groups:

mestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Maya 10.6%, Garifuna 6.1%, other 9.7%
Religions:

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:

Spanish 46%, Creole 32.9%, Mayan dialects 8.9%, English 3.9% (official), Garifuna 3.4% (Carib), German 3.3%, other 1.4%, unknown 0.2% (2000 census)
Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 76.9%
male: 76.7%
female: 77.1% (2000 census)
   Government    Belize Top of Page
Country name:

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Belize
former: British Honduras
Government type:

parliamentary democracy
Capital:

name: Belmopan
geographic coordinates: 17 15 N, 88 46 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:

6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo
Independence:

21 September 1981 (from UK)
National holiday:

Independence Day, 21 September (1981)
Constitution:

21 September 1981
Legal system:

English law
Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:

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 Vildo MARIN (since 5 June 2007)
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:

bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (12 seats; 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; to serve five-year terms) and the House of Representatives (29 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - number of seats will increase to 31 next election
elections: House of Representatives - last held 5 March 2003 (next to be held in March 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PUP 21, UDP 8
Judicial branch:

Supreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister)
Political parties and leaders:

National Alliance for Belizean Rights or NABR; National Reform Party or NRP [Cornelius DUECK]; People's United Party or PUP [Said MUSA]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Dean BARROW]; Vision Inspired by the People or VIP [Paul MORGAN]; We the People Reform Movement [Hipolito BAUTISTA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:

Society for the Promotion of Education and Research or SPEAR [Gustavo PERERA]; Association of Concerned Belizeans or ACB [David VASQUEZ]; National Trade Union Congress of Belize or NTUC/B [Rene GOMEZ]
International organization participation:

ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:

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:

chief of mission: Ambassador Robert J. DIETER
embassy: Floral Park Road, Belmopan City, Cayo District
mailing address: 3050 Belize Place, Washington DC 20521-3050
telephone: [501] 822-4011
FAX: [501] 822-4012
Flag description:

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:

In this small, essentially private-enterprise economy tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner followed by exports of 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 4% in 1999-2006. Major concerns continue to be the sizable trade deficit and unsustainable foreign debt. The government in 2006 announced it would seek a restructuring of its sovereign debt and has been negotiating with international creditors to find an acceptable formula for doing so. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$2.307 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):

$1.141 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:

3.5% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):

$8,400 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 22.5%
industry: 14.8%
services: 62.6% (2006 est.)
Labor force:

113,000
note: shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 22.5%
industry: 15.2%
services: 62.3% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate:

9.4% (2006)
Population below poverty line:

33.5% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

4.3% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):

20.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget:

revenues: $302.6 million
expenditures: $324.9 million; including capital expenditures of $70 million (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:

bananas, cacao, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp; lumber; garments
Industries:

garment production, food processing, tourism, construction, oil
Industrial production growth rate:

4.6% (1999)
Electricity - production:

175 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:

162.8 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production:

2,413 bbl/day (2006)
Oil - consumption:

3,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports:

1,960 bbl/day (2006)
Oil - imports:

NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl
Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2005 est.)
Current account balance:

-$26 million (2006 est.)
Exports:

$427 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:

sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood
Exports - partners:

US 33.9%, UK 33.6%, Cote d'Ivoire 3.7% (2006)
Imports:

$612 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:

machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco
Imports - partners:

US 35.7%, Mexico 13%, Cuba 7.7%, Guatemala 7.2%, China 4.3% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient:

$NA
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$113.7 million (2006 est.)
Debt - external:

$1.2 billion (June 2005 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:

$NA
Currency (code):

Belizean dollar (BZD)
Exchange rates:

Belizean dollars per US dollar - 2 (2006), 2 (2005), 2 (2004), 2 (2003), 2 (2002)
Fiscal year:

1 April - 31 March
   Communications    Belize Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:

33,900 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

118,300 (2006)
Telephone system:

general assessment: above-average system; fixed-line teledensity of 12 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density of about 40 per 100 persons
domestic: trunk network depends primarily on microwave radio relay
international: country code - 501; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber-optic telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth station - 8 (Intelsat - 2, unknown - 6) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:

AM 1, FM 16, shortwave 0 (2006)
Television broadcast stations:

5 (2006)
Internet country code:

.bz
Internet hosts:

1,942 (2007)
Internet users:

34,000 (2006)
   Transportation    Belize Top of Page
Airports:

44 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:

total: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 40
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 27 (2007)
Roadways:

total: 2,872 km
paved: 488 km
unpaved: 2,384 km (1999)
Waterways:

825 km (navigable only by small craft) (2007)
Merchant marine:

total: 261 ships (1000 GRT or over) 940,852 GRT/1,275,111 DWT
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 36, cargo 190, chemical tanker 5, container 5, petroleum tanker 9, refrigerated cargo 8, roll on/roll off 6, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 217 (China 107, Croatia 1, Cyprus 1, Estonia 1, Hong Kong 5, Iceland 1, Italy 4, Japan 2, South Korea 4, Latvia 14, Norway 3, Peru 1, Philippines 1, Russia 39, Singapore 3, Spain 2, Turkey 11, Ukraine 10, UAE 4, US 3) (2007)
Ports and terminals:

Belize City, Big Creek
   Military    Belize Top of Page
Military branches:

Belize Defense Force (BDF): Army, Maritime Wing, Air Wing, and Volunteer Guard
Military service age and obligation:

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:

males age 18-49: 61,201
females age 18-49: 60,048 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 18-49: 44,238
females age 18-49: 43,633 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:

males age 18-49: 3,213
females age 18-49: 3,100 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

1.4% (2006)
   Transnational Issues    Belize Top of Page
Disputes - international:

annual ministerial meetings under the OAS-initiated Agreement on the Framework for Negotiations and Confidence Building Measures continue to address Guatemalan land and maritime claims in Belize and Caribbean Sea; the Line of Adjacency created under the 2002 Differendum serves in lieu of the contiguous international boundary to control squatting in the sparsely inhabited rain forests of Belize's border region; Honduras claims Belizean-administered Sapodilla Cays in its constitution but agreed to a joint ecological park under the Differendum
Illicit drugs:

transshipment point for cocaine; small-scale illicit producer of cannabis, primarily for local consumption; money-laundering activity related to narcotics trafficking and offshore sector

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Bottom Banner

K

Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kingman Reef
Kiribati
Kuwait
Kyrgystan

L

Laos
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg

M

Macau
Macedonia
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Mexico
Micronesia
Midway Island
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Montserrat
Morocco
Mozambique

N

Namibia
Nauru
Navassa Island
Nepal
Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Niue
Norfolk Island
North Korea
Northern Mariana Islands
Norway

O

Oman

P

Pacific Ocean
Pakistan
Palau
Palmyra Atoll
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paracel Islands
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Pitcairn Islands
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico

Q

Qatar

R

Reunion
Romania
Russia
Rwanda

S

St. Helena
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Pierra & Miquelon
St Vincent & Grenadines
Samoa
San Marina
Sao Tome & Principle
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia & Montenegro
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Georgia & Sandwich Islands
South Korea
Southern Islands
Spain
Spratly Islands
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Suriname
Svalbard
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria

T

Taiwan
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Togo
Tokelau
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tromelin Island
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Turks & Caicos Islands
Tuvalu

U

Uganda
UK
Ukraine
UAE
Uruguay
USA
Uzbekistan

V

Vanuatu
Vatican
Venezuela
Vietnam
Virgin Islands

W

Wake Island
Wallis & Futuna
West Bank
Western Sahara
The World

Y

Yemen

Z

Zimbabwe
Zambia