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Belize (2003)

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Belize 2003 year

Administrative divisions 6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo
Age structure 0-14 years: 41.1% (male 55,880; female 53,706)

15-64 years: 55.3% (male 74,612; female 72,813)

65 years and over: 3.5% (male 4,571; female 4,858) (2003 est.)
Agriculture - products bananas, coca, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp; lumber; garments
Airports 42 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways total: 4

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 2 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 38

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 10

under 914 m: 27 (2002)
Area total: 22,966 sq km

land: 22,806 sq km

water: 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 30.46 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Budget revenues: $224 million

expenditures: $209 million, including capital expenditures of $70 million (2002 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: none

conventional short form: Belize

former: British Honduras
Currency Belizean dollar (BZD)
Death rate 6.05 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Debt - external $475 million (2001 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Russell F. FREEMAN

embassy: 29 Gabourel Lane and Hutson Street, Belize City

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

telephone: [501] 227-7161 through 7163

FAX: [501] 30802
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
Disputes - international Guatemala has claimed half of southern Belize; Guatemalan squatters continue to settle along the border despite a 2000 agreement; OAS brokered a Differendum in 2002 that created a small adjustment to land boundary, a large Guatemalan maritime corridor in the Caribbean, a joint ecological park for disputed Sapodilla Cays, and a substantial US-UK financial package, but agreement was not brought to a popular referendum
Economic aid - recipient $NA
Economy - overview In this small, essentially private enterprise economy the tourism industry is the number one foreign exchange earner followed by cane sugar, citrus, marine products, bananas, and garments. The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to GDP growth of 6.5% in 1999, 10.8% in 2000, 4.6% in 2001, and 3.7% in 2002. 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.
Electricity - consumption 185.5 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - production 199.5 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel: 59.9%

hydro: 40.1%

nuclear: 0%

other: 0% (2001)
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 and sewage 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 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Maya 10.6%, Garifuna 6.1%, other 9.7%
Exchange rates Belizean dollars per US dollar - 2 (2002), 2 (2001), 2 (2000), 2 (1999), 2 (1998)
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 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
Exports 0 kWh (2001)
Exports $290 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports NA (2001)
Exports - commodities sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood
Exports - partners US 40.5%, UK 23.2%, Peru 8.3% (2002)
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 - $1.28 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 18%

industry: 24%

services: 58% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $4,900 (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 3.7% (2002 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

paved: 488 km

unpaved: 2,384 km (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
Illicit drugs major transshipment point for cocaine; small-scale illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; some money-laundering activity related to offshore sector
Imports 0 kWh (2001)
Imports $430 million c.i.f. (2002 est.)
Imports NA (2001)
Imports - commodities machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco
Imports - partners US 35.7%, Mexico 10.1%, Netherlands Antilles 6.1%, Japan 5.9%, Cuba 5.7%, UK 5.4% (2002)
Independence 21 September 1981 (from UK)
Industrial production growth rate 4.6% (1999)
Industries garment production, food processing, tourism, construction
Infant mortality rate total: 27.07 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 30.56 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 23.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 1.9% (2002 est.)
International organization participation ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, 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 30 sq km (1998 est.)
Judicial branch Supreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister)
Labor force 90,000

note: shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 27%, industry 18%, services 55% (2001 est.)
Land boundaries total: 516 km

border countries: Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km
Land use arable land: 2.81%

permanent crops: 1.1%

other: 96.09% (1998 est.)
Languages English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole
Legal system English law
Legislative branch bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (12 members appointed by the governor general - six on the advice of the prime minister, three on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and one 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 NA March 2008)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PUP 21, UDP 8
Life expectancy at birth total population: 67.36 years

male: 65.19 years

female: 69.63 years (2003 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 94.1%

male: 94.1%

female: 94.1% (2003 est.)
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: 292 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,030,141 GRT/1,499,777 DWT

ships by type: bulk 15, cargo 200, chemical tanker 7, combination ore/oil 1, container 12, petroleum tanker 31, refrigerated cargo 18, roll on/roll off 5, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 1

note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Albania 2, Belgium 3, British Virgin Islands 6, Cambodia 1, China 38, Cyprus 1, Ecuador 1, Egypt 1, Equatorial Guinea 1, Eritrea 1, Estonia 7, Germany 3, Greece 4, Grenada 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 20, Indonesia 6, Italy 2, Japan 4, Jordan 1, Lebanon 1, Liberia 5, Malaysia 3, Malta 2, Man, Isle of 1, Marshall Islands 13, Mexico 1, Netherlands 1, Nigeria 1, Panama 12, Philippines 4, Portugal 1, Romania 1, Russia 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Saudi Arabia 1, Singapore 22, South Korea 10, Spain 4, Switzerland 1, Taiwan 1, Thailand 6, Tunisia 1, Turkey 1, Ukraine 3, United Arab Emirates 9, United Kingdom 2, United States 4, Virgin Islands (UK) 6, Yemen 1 (2002 est.)
Military branches Belize Defense Force (includes Army, Maritime Wing, Air Wing, and Volunteer Guard)
Military expenditures - dollar figure $7.7 million (FY00/01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1.87% (FY00/01)
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49: 66,332 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49: 39,337 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - military age 18 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually males: 3,046 (2003 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 21 September (1981)
Nationality noun: Belizean(s)

adjective: Belizean
Natural hazards frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south)
Natural resources arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower
Net migration rate 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Political parties and leaders 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 Society for the Promotion of Education and Research or SPEAR [Adele CATZIM]
Population 266,440 (July 2003 est.)
Population below poverty line 33% (1999 est.)
Population growth rate 2.44% (2003 est.)
Ports and harbors Belize City, Big Creek, Corozol, Punta Gorda
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 12, shortwave 0 (1998)
Railways 0 km
Religions Roman Catholic 49.6%, Protestant 27% (Anglican 5.3%, Methodist 3.5%, Mennonite 4.1%, Seventh-Day Adventist 5.2%, Pentecostal 7.4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.5%), none 9.4%, other 14% (2000)
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: 0.94 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: above-average system

domestic: trunk network depends primarily on microwave radio relay

international: 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 3.86 children born/woman (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate 9.1% (2002)
Waterways 825 km (river network used by shallow-draft craft; seasonally navigable)
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