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The World Factbook 2002

         
  Belize  
Flag of Belize
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  Introduction
  Geography
  People
  Government
  Economy
  Communications
  Transportation
  Military
  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.


This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


Map of Belize

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Belize
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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.
   Geography    Belize
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
17 15 N, 88 45 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
Definition Field Listing
total: 22,966 sq km
water: 160 sq km
land: 22,806 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Massachusetts
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 516 km
border countries: Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
386 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
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
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Victoria Peak 1,160 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 3%
permanent crops: 1%
other: 96% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
30 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south)
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid and sewage waste disposal
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
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
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean
   People    Belize
Population:
Definition Field Listing
262,999 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 41.6% (male 55,716; female 53,581)
15-64 years: 54.9% (male 73,068; female 71,368)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 4,511; female 4,755) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.65% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
31.08 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.6 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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 (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
24.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 71.46 years
female: 73.87 years (2002 est.)
male: 69.17 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
3.96 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.01% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
2,400 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
170 (1999 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Belizean(s)
adjective: Belizean
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
mestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Maya 10.6%, Garifuna 6.1%, other 9.7%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
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)
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 70.3%
male: 70.3%
female: 70.3% (1991 est.)
note: other sources list the literacy rate as high as 75%
   Government    Belize
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Belize
former: British Honduras
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
parliamentary democracy
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Belmopan
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
21 September 1981 (from UK)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 21 September (1981)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
21 September 1981
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
English law
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 27 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; governor general appoints the member of the House of Representatives who is leader of the majority party to be prime minister
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 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
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
Society for the Promotion of Education and Research or SPEAR [Diane HAYLOCK]; United Worker's Front
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, 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
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Lisa M. SHOMAN
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
FAX: [1] (202) 332-6888
telephone: [1] (202) 332-9636
chancery: 2535 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
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] (2) 77161
FAX: [501] (2) 30802
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
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 expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to GDP growth of 6.4% in 1999 and 10.5% in 2000. Growth decelerated in 2001 to 3% due to the global slowdown and severe hurricane damage to agriculture, fishing, and tourism. Major concerns continue to be the rapidly expanding trade deficit and foreign debt. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $830 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $3,250 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 18%
industry: 24%
services: 58% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
33% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
1.7% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
90,000
note: shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel (1997 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 27%, industry 18%, services 55% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
11.5% (2000)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $186 million
expenditures: $253 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
garment production, food processing, tourism, construction
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.6% (1999)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
192 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 58.33%
hydro: 41.67%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
178.56 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
bananas, coca, citrus, sugarcane; lumber; fish, cultured shrimp
Exports:
Definition Field Listing
$239.6 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
EU 45% (UK 33%), US 42%, Caricom 6%, Canada 1% (1999)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing
$505 million (c.i.f., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and transportation equipment, manufactured goods; food, beverages, tobacco; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 51%, Mexico 12%, Central America 5%, UK 4% (1999)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$500 million (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$NA
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
Belizean dollar (BZD)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
BZD
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Belizean dollars per US dollar - 2.0000 (fixed rate pegged to the US dollar)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 April - 31 March
   Communications    Belize
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
31,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
3,023 (1997)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: above-average system
domestic: trunk network depends primarily on microwave radio relay
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 1, FM 12, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios:
Definition Field Listing
133,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
2 (1997)
Televisions:
Definition Field Listing
41,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.bz
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
2 (2000)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
15,000 (2000)
   Transportation    Belize
Railways:
Definition Field Listing
0 km
Highways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,880 km
paved: 490 km
unpaved: 2,390 km (1998 est.)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
825 km (river network used by shallow-draft craft; seasonally navigable)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Belize City, Big Creek, Corozol, Punta Gorda
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 315 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,240,551 GRT/1,761,168 DWT
ships by type: bulk 26, cargo 204, chemical tanker 6, combination ore/oil 1, container 12, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 39, refrigerated cargo 15, roll on/roll off 8, short-sea passenger 1, specialized tanker 1, 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.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
44 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 40
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 29 (2001)
   Military    Belize
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Belize Defense Force (includes Army, Maritime Wing, Air Wing, and Volunteer Guard)
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 64,909 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 38,472 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 2,847 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$7.7 million (FY00/01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
1.87% (FY00/01)
   Transnational Issues    Belize
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
the "Line of Adjacency" established in 2000 as an agreed limit to check squatters settling in Belize, remains in place while the Organization of American States (OAS) assists states to resolve Guatemalan territorial claims in Belize and Guatemalan maritime access to the Caribbean Sea; Honduras claims the Sapodilla Cays off the coast of Belize
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
major transshipment point for cocaine; small-scale illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; minor money-laundering center

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


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