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Belize (2005)

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Belize 2005 year

Administrative divisions 6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo
Age structure 0-14 years: 40.1% (male 57,114/female 54,877)

15-64 years: 56.4% (male 79,694/female 77,881)

65 years and over: 3.5% (male 4,768/female 5,123) (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products bananas, coca, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp; lumber; garments
Airports 43 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total: 5

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 2 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 38

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 11

under 914 m: 26 (2004 est.)
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 increasing urban crime.
Birth rate 29.34 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Budget revenues: $244.5 million

expenditures: $300 million, including capital expenditures of $70 million (2004 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
Death rate 6.04 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Debt - external $1.362 billion (June 2004 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Russell F. FREEMAN

embassy: 29 Gabourel Lane, Belize City

mailing address: P. O. Box 286, Belize City

telephone: [501] 227-7161 through 7163

FAX: [501] 2-30802
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 Guatemalan squatters continue to settle in the largely uninhabited rain forests of Belize's border region; OAS is attempting to revive the 2002 failed Differendum that created a small adjustment to land boundary, a Guatemalan maritime corridor in Caribbean, joint ecological park for disputed Sapodilla Cays, and substantial US-UK financial package
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 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 6% in 1999-2004. 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 108.8 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - production 117 million kWh (2002)
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, 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 (2004), 2 (2003), 2 (2002), 2 (2001), 2 (2000)
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 (2002)
Exports $401.4 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports NA
Exports - commodities sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood
Exports - partners US 37.2%, UK 26.8%, Jamaica 4.6% (2004)
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 - composition by sector agriculture: 17.7%

industry: 15%

services: 67.3% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $6,500 (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 3.5% (2004 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; money-laundering activity related to narcotics trafficking and offshore sector
Imports 0 kWh (2002)
Imports $579.9 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports NA
Imports - commodities machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco
Imports - partners US 30.1%, Mexico 12%, Guatemala 7.4%, Cuba 7.2%, China 4.2%, Japan 4.1% (2004)
Independence 21 September 1981 (from UK)
Industrial production growth rate 4.6% (1999)
Industries garment production, food processing, tourism, construction
Infant mortality rate total: 25.69 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 28.97 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 22.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 2.9% (2004 est.)
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 (2001 est.)
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: 2.85%

permanent crops: 1.71%

other: 95.44% (2001)
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 March 2008)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PUP 21, UDP 8
Life expectancy at birth total population: 68.44 years

male: 66.54 years

female: 70.44 years (2005 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 94.1%

male: 94.1%

female: 94.1% (2003 est.)
Location Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico
Map references Central America and the Caribbean
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
Merchant marine total: 295 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,015,270 GRT/1,336,890 DWT

by type: bulk carrier 25, cargo 207, chemical tanker 9, container 6, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 20, refrigerated cargo 17, roll on/roll off 5

foreign-owned: 142 (Australia 2, Belgium 1, China 50, Cuba 1, Cyprus 1, Estonia 9, Germany 4, Hong Kong 6, Indonesia 3, Italy 2, Japan 5, Latvia 4, Malaysia 1, Nigeria 1, Pakistan 1, Poland 2, Russia 23, Singapore 5, South Korea 6, Spain 3, Switzerland 1, Turkey 2, Ukraine 4, UAE 3, United States 2) (2005)
Military branches Belize Defense Force (BDF): Army, Maritime Wing, Air Wing, and Volunteer Guard
Military expenditures - dollar figure $18 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 2% (2003)
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 (2005 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 279,457 (July 2005 est.)
Population below poverty line 33% (1999 est.)
Population growth rate 2.33% (2005 est.)
Ports and harbors Belize City
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 12, shortwave 0 (1998)
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)
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: 0.93 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: above-average system

domestic: trunk network depends primarily on microwave radio relay

international: country code - 501; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Telephones - main lines in use 33,300 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular 60,400 (2003)
Television broadcast stations 2 (1997)
Terrain flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south
Total fertility rate 3.68 children born/woman (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate 12.9% (2003)
Waterways 825 km (navigable only by small craft) (2004)
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