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Belize (2008)

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Belize 2008 year

Administrative divisions 6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo
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.)
Agriculture - products bananas, cacao, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp; lumber; garments
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)
Area total: 22,966 sq km

land: 22,806 sq km

water: 160 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than Massachusetts
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.
Birth rate 28.34 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $328.5 million

expenditures: $365 million (2007 est.)
Capital name: Belmopan

geographic coordinates: 17 15 N, 88 46 W

time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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 5.76 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $1.2 billion (June 2005 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Robert J. DIETER

embassy: Floral Park Road, Belmopan City, Cayo District

mailing address: P.O. Box 497, Belmopan City, Cayo District, Belize

telephone: [501] 822-4011

FAX: [501] 822-4012
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)

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 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
Economic aid - recipient $12.91 million (2005)
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 1999-2007. Oil discoveries in 2006 bolstered the economic growth in 2006 and 2007. Major concerns continue to be the sizable trade deficit and unsustainable foreign debt. In February 2007, the government restructured nearly all of its public external commercial debt, which will reduce interest payments and create the liquidity relief needed for an increase in public spending in the run-up to the March 2008 elections. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.
Electricity - consumption 162.8 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - production 200 million kWh (2007 est.)
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, Whaling

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 (2007), 2 (2006), 2 (2005), 2 (2004), 2 (2003)
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 Dean BARROW (since 8 February 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar VEGA (since 12 February 2008)

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 (2005)
Exports $437 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Exports 1,960 bbl/day (2006)
Exports - commodities sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood
Exports - partners US 33.9%, UK 33.6%, Cote d'Ivoire 3.7% (2006)
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: 21.3%

industry: 13.7%

services: 65% (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 3% (2007 est.)
Geographic coordinates 17 15 N, 88 45 W
Geography - note only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
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
Imports 0 kWh (2005)
Imports $670 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports 0 cu m (2005)
Imports 6,754 bbl/day (2004)
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)
Independence 21 September 1981 (from UK)
Industrial production growth rate 0.5% (2007 est.)
Industries garment production, food processing, tourism, construction, oil
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.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 2.8% (2007 est.)
Irrigated land 30 sq km (2003)
Judicial branch Supreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister)
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.)
Land boundaries total: 516 km

border countries: Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km
Land use arable land: 3.05%

permanent crops: 1.39%

other: 95.56% (2005)
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)
Legal system English law
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 (31 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: House of Representatives - last held 6 February 2008 (next to be held in 2013)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UDP 25, PUP 6
Life expectancy at birth total population: 68.25 years

male: 66.44 years

female: 70.16 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 76.9%

male: 76.7%

female: 77.1% (2000 census)
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: 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)
Military branches Belize Defense Force (BDF): Army, Maritime Wing, Air Wing, and Volunteer Guard
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1.4% (2006)
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 (2007 est.)
Political parties and leaders National Alliance for Belizean Rights or NABR; National Reform Party or NRP [Cornelius DUECK]; People's National Party or PNP [Wil MAHEIA]; 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 or WTP [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]
Population 294,385 (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line 33.5% (2002 est.)
Population growth rate 2.258% (2007 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 16, shortwave 0 (2006)
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: 1.041 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.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
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)
Telephones - main lines in use 33,900 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular 118,300 (2006)
Television broadcast stations 5 (2006)
Terrain flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south
Total fertility rate 3.52 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate 9.4% (2006)
Waterways 825 km (navigable only by small craft) (2007)
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