The Belize dollar is the official currency
of Belize. The ISO code for the Belize dollar is BZD. The Belize dollar is subdivided into 100 cents. One USD is worth 2 BZD. The grey market has now been legalized in Belize. Belize was formerly British Honduras until its independence. The independence of Belize was delayed until 1981 due to the territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala. Even then, Guatemala still refused to recognize Belize as a new nation until 1992.
Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country's access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.
What does it look like?
Belize is a parliamentary democracy. The country is a member of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. It maintains diplomatic relations with almost every nation in the world. The government is divided into three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial. The executive branch consists of a Monarch, Governor General, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and the cabinet. No elections take place in Belize. The Monarch is hereditary. The monarch appoints the governor general and the governor general appoints the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister recommends the deputy Prime Minister. Lastly the governor general on the advice of the Prime minister appoints the cabinet. The legislative branch is a bicameral National Assembly that consists of the Senate, which are 12 members appointed by the governor general. These members each serve five-year terms. The House of Representatives, which holds 29 seats, are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. The judicial branch is composed of a Supreme Court. The governor general on the advice of the prime minister appoints the chief justice.
The Queen of Belize has been Elizabeth II since February 6, 1952. The Governor General is Sir Colville Young, Sr. since November 17, 1993. Since August 28 1998, the Prime Minister has been Said Wilbert Musa. The Deputy Prime Minister is John Briceno and has been in office since September 1, 1998. The Board of Directors (run by the governor and vice chairman) runs the Bank of Belize. Mr. Sydney Campbell is both Governor and Vice Chairman of the Bank of Belize.
Investment in infrastructure has historically been a major constraint on the economy of Belize. While water and electricity supply is relatively good, the electrical system is the most expensive in the region. Also, much of the land that could be used for industry is difficult to access because of a lack of roads and poor quality of roads that do exist.
Key Economic Factors Economic Overview
The Belarusian economy is still similar today to its former economy under communist rule. Belarus relies heavily on Russia for its energy. High levels of unemployment and underemployment have caused poverty to affect 1 in 5 people. GDP growth has increased since 1997, every year recording at least a 3% growth. However, extremely high inflation rates have devalued the purchasing power of the Belarusian ruble. 2001 saw inflation reach 54%. The current account deficit is 5% of the GDP.
Belize's economic performance is highly susceptible to external market changes. Although moderate growth has been achieved in recent years, the achievements are vulnerable to world commodity price fluctuations and continuation of preferential trading agreements, especially with the U.S. and the U.K. Belize continues to rely heavily on foreign trade with the United States as its number one trading partner. Total imports in 2000 totaled $446 million while total exports were only $228.6 million. In 2000, the U.S. accounted for 48.5% of Belize's total exports and provided 49.7% of all Belizean imports.
Key Economic Factors
The primary sectors of Belize's small, open economy are agriculture, manufacturing (primarily agro-products), and services (primarily tourism).
The strengths of the Belizean economy lie in their abundance of land, food and water resources, as well as their close proximity to the United States allowing a steady flow of trade with the U.S. and their historically strong trade relationship with the United Kingdom. The affluent natural resources also help to promote the nature-based tourism market.
Some of the factors working against the Belizean economy are high unemployment, growing involvement in the South American drug trade, and increasing urban crime.
In September 1998, the government initiated new monetary and fiscal policies. After that, from 1999-2004, the country's GDP averaged 6% growth every year.