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Belize (2001)

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Belize 2001 year

Administrative divisions 6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo
Age structure 0-14 years:
42.04% (male 54,876; female 52,780)

15-64 years:
54.43% (male 70,534; female 68,837)

65 years and over:
3.53% (male 4,403; female 4,632) (2001 est.)
Agriculture - products bananas, coca, citrus, sugarcane; lumber; fish, cultured shrimp
Airports 44 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total:

1,524 to 2,437 m:

914 to 1,523 m:

under 914 m:
2 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total:

2,438 to 3,047 m:

914 to 1,523 m:

under 914 m:
29 (2000 est.)
Area total:
22,966 sq km

22,806 sq km

160 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than Massachusetts
Background 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.
Birth rate 31.69 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Budget revenues:
$157 million

$279 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)
Capital Belmopan
Climate tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)
Coastline 386 km
Constitution 21 September 1981
Country name conventional long form:

conventional short form:

British Honduras
Currency Belizean dollar (BZD)
Death rate 4.7 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Debt - external $338 million (1998)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission:
Ambassador Carolyn CURIEL

29 Gabourel Lane and Hutson Street, Belize City

mailing address:
P. O. Box 286, Unit 7401, APO AA 34025

[501] (2) 77161

[501] (2) 30802
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission:
Ambassador Lisa M. SHOMAN

2535 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

[1] (202) 332-9636

[1] (202) 332-6888

consulate(s) general:
Los Angeles
Disputes - international Guatemala periodically asserts claims to territory in southern Belize; to deter cross-border squatting, both states in 2000 agreed to a "line of adjacency" based on the de facto boundary, which is not recognized by Guatemala
Economic aid - recipient $NA
Economy - overview The small, essentially private enterprise economy is based primarily on agriculture, agro-based industry, and merchandising, with tourism and construction assuming greater importance. Sugar, the chief crop, accounts for nearly half of exports, while the banana industry is the country's largest employer. The government's tough austerity program in 1997 resulted in an economic slowdown that continued in 1998. The trade deficit has been growing, mostly as a result of low export prices for sugar and bananas. The tourist and construction sectors strengthened in early 1999, supporting growth of 6% in 1999 and 4% in 2000. Aided by international donors, the government's key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty.
Electricity - consumption 172.1 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - production 185 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel:



0% (1999)
Elevation extremes lowest point:
Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point:
Victoria Peak 1,160 m
Environment - current issues deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid waste disposal
Environment - international agreements party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Ethnic groups mestizo 43.7%, Creole 29.8%, Maya 10%, Garifuna 6.2%, other 10.3%
Exchange rates Belizean dollars per US dollar - 2.0000 (fixed rate pegged to the US dollar)
Executive branch chief of state:
Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Colville YOUNG (since 17 November 1993)

head of government:
Prime Minister Said MUSA (since 27 August 1998); Deputy Prime Minister John BRICENO (since 1 September 1998)

Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; governor general appoints the member of the House of Representatives who is leader of the majority party to be prime minister
Exports 0 kWh (1999)
Exports $235.7 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood
Exports - partners US 42%, UK 33%, EU 12%, Caricom 4.8%, Canada 2%, Mexico 1% (1999)
Fiscal year 1 April - 31 March
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
GDP purchasing power parity - $790 million (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture:


58% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $3,200 (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 4% (2000 est.)
Geographic coordinates 17 15 N, 88 45 W
Geography - note only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean
Highways total:
2,872 km

488 km

2,384 km (1998 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%:

highest 10%:
Illicit drugs minor transshipment point for cocaine; small-scale illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; minor money-laundering center
Imports 0 kWh (1999)
Imports $413 million (c.i.f., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities machinery and transportation equipment, manufactured goods; food, beverages, tobacco; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
Imports - partners US 58%, Mexico 12%, UK 5% EU 5%, Central America 5%, Caricom 4% (1998)
Independence 21 September 1981 (from UK)
Industrial production growth rate 4.6% (1999)
Industries garment production, food processing, tourism, construction
Infant mortality rate 25.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 2% (2000 est.)
International organization participation ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 2 (2000)
Irrigated land 20 sq km (1993 est.)
Judicial branch Supreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister)
Labor force 71,000

shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel (1997 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 38%, industry 32%, services 30% (1994)
Land boundaries total:
516 km

border countries:
Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km
Land use arable land:

permanent crops:

permanent pastures:

forests and woodland:

3% (2000 est.)
Languages English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole
Legal system English law
Legislative branch bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (eight members, five appointed on the advice of the prime minister, two on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and one by the governor general; 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)

House of Representatives - last held 27 August 1998 (next to be held by NA August 2003)

election results:
percent of vote by party - PUP 59.2%, UDP 40.8%; seats by party - PUP 26, UDP 3
Life expectancy at birth total population:
71.19 years

68.91 years

73.57 years (2001 est.)
Literacy definition:
age 15 and over can read and write

total population:


70.3% (1991 est.)

other sources list the literacy rate as high as 75%
Location Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico
Map references Central America and the Caribbean
Maritime claims exclusive economic zone:
200 NM

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
Merchant marine total:
402 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,575,851 GRT/2,241,731 DWT

ships by type:
bulk 27, cargo 265, chemical tanker 6, combination ore/oil 1, container 14, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 56, refrigerated cargo 18, roll on/roll off 7, short-sea passenger 1, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 3

includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Cuba 1, Singapore 1, US 1 (2000 est.)
Military branches Belize Defense Force (includes Army, Maritime Wing, Air Wing, and Volunteer Guard)
Military expenditures - dollar figure $17 million (FY98/99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 2.4% (FY98/99)
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49:
62,698 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49:
37,174 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - military age 18 years of age
Military manpower - reaching military age annually males:
2,847 (2001 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 21 September (1981)
Nationality noun:

Natural hazards frequent, devastating hurricanes (September to December) and coastal flooding (especially in south)
Natural resources arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower
Net migration rate 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Political parties and leaders People's United Party or PUP [Said MUSA]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Manuel ESQUIVEL, Dean BARROW, Doug SINGH]
Political pressure groups and leaders Society for the Promotion of Education and Research or SPEAR [Diane HAYLOCK]; United Worker's Front
Population 256,062 (July 2001 est.)
Population below poverty line 33% (1999 est.)
Population growth rate 2.7% (2001 est.)
Ports and harbors Belize City, Big Creek, Corozol, Punta Gorda
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 12, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios 133,000 (1997)
Railways 0 km
Religions Roman Catholic 62%, Protestant 30% (Anglican 12%, Methodist 6%, Mennonite 4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3%, Pentecostal 2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1%, other 2%), none 2%, other 6% (1980)
Sex ratio 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:
0.95 male(s)/female

total population:
1.03 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment:
above-average system

trunk network depends primarily on microwave radio relay

satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Telephones - main lines in use 31,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular 3,023 (1997)
Television broadcast stations 2 (1997)
Terrain flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south
Total fertility rate 4.05 children born/woman (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate 12.8% (1999)
Waterways 825 km (river network used by shallow-draft craft; seasonally navigable)
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