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Belize

  • Capital Belmopan (17°15´N 88°46´W)
  • International airport(s) Philip S. W. Goldson Airport
  • Official language(s) English
  • Currency Belize dollar
  • Time UTC -6
  • Region Caribbean
GeographyClimateEconomyCulture
Belize is located on the northeast, Caribbean coast of Central America. It borders Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west and south, making it the only Central American country without a Pacific coastline. While the northern and southern borders are largely defined by the courses of two rivers, the Hondo and the Sarstoon River, respectively, the western border follows no natural features and runs in a relatively straight line north-to-south through highland plateaus and the country's predominant lowlands (swampy at the coast and covered in forest inland). A total land border of 516 km is contrasted by the 386 km coastline to the east in the Caribbean Sea. The coast is flanked by the second-longest barrier reef in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef consists of a 300 km long section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System with a total length of 900 km. Belize has 1 060 islands and many lagoons along the coast.
Having a tropical climate, Belize experiences pronounced wet and dry seasons. Temperatures in Belize are affected by elevation, proximity to the coast and the effects of trade winds from the Caribbean. Average temperatures range from 23 °C in January to 27 °C in June -—
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, with the interior having somewhat higher and highlands somewhat lower temperatures. Seasons are mostly determined by the amount of rainfall. The wet season in Belize occurs during the months of May to October and the dry season from November to April. During the wet season, Belize usually receives mean monthly rainfall of 150-400 mm in the south of the country; in the rest of the country precipitation is limited with less than 100 mm of rainfall per month -—
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Hurricanes have major effects on the climate of Belize, often devastating ones. The city of Belmopan was built in 1970 to become the new capital, since Belize City was so often devastated by hurricanes. Belmopan is the third-largest settlement in Belize, following Belize City and San Ignacio.
Belize’s economy has traditionally been based primarily on agriculture. Key export crops include citrus, sugar, banana, and marine products such as shrimp -—
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. According to the FAO -—
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, less than 4 per cent of the territory is classified as arable land. The share of agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing in total value added has fallen to just below 11 per cent in 2019, whereas services now account for three quarters -—
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. Agriculture accounts for about 17 per cent of employment in the country; roughly 24 per cent for men. Over 85 per cent of women and 55 per cent of men are employed in service sector -—
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Tourism has been gaining importance in the economy of Belize since the early 2000s: inbound tourism expenditure as a per cent of GPD was over 27 per cent in 2019 and the number of inbound tourists reached almost 1.7 million by 2018 -—
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. Belize’s main export partners are the United States of America and the United Kingdom, jointly dominating the trade accounting for around 60 per cent of Belize’s total exports. Jamaica, Ireland and Spain are also important export partners. -—
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Belize’s culture is an amalgamation of various ethnicities in the country, ranging from Central American to Afro-Caribbean, with a blend of Indian and Chinese communities. This is most pronounced in cuisine, but also in music and national folklore, the latter reflecting various legends.

Local food is diverse and influenced by the history of the country. Belizean cuisine offers spicy Creole dishes, corned beef and fried paca, which is a small jungle rodent. Beans and rice are a staple for most meals, and they commonly include coconut milk, hot peppers and plantains. Underground roasted pig is one of the delicious dishes still prepared, especially in the countryside.
Land areakm2
Arable land%
Forest area%
Coastline
lengthkm
Exclusive economic zonekm2
Nearest
neighbourkm
Economic trendsMaritime transportPopulationInternational tradeEnvironmentInformation and communications technology
Gross domestic product
US dollars at constant prices (2015) in millions
GDP per capita

2019

US$

Productive Capacity Index

2018

Economic and environmental vulnerability index

2019

Consumer Price Index growth

2019

%

Unemployment
rate

Total %
Female %, Male %
Main economic sectors, 2019
Percentage of GDP
Tourist arrivals
Thousands of tourists, percentage of GDP
External financial resources
Percentage of GDP
Public debt as % of GDP

2018

%

Fleet size
Number of ships
Ship type20112019
Total fleet1 4071 407
Oil tankers264266
Bulk carriers311333
General cargo16177
Container ships5249
Other types of ships619682
Port performance
Ranked by 2019 data within SIDS group
Indicators2019SIDS Ranking
Number of port calls57020
Median time in port (days)0.528
Average age of vessels1328
Average size (GT) of vessels70 9331
Container port throuput

2019

TEU

Bilateral connectivity index, 2019
Top 5 partners
Liner shipping connectivity index
Maximum China Q1 2006=100
Total population
Thousands of people, share of urban population
Population development indicators
IndicatorsPeriodValue
Poverty headcount (% of population)....
Human development index20180.7
Human assets index202086
Adult literacy rate (15+ years, both sexes %)....
Gender inequality index20190.4
Life expectancy at birth

years

Population density

2019

persons per km2
Dependency
ratio

2019

Child:
Old-age:
Age structure by gender, 2019
Percentage of total population
Merchandise and services trade
US dollars in millions
Indicators20052010201520192019 (% of GDP)
Merchandise exports 319 478 538 46224.6
Merchandise imports 593 706 991 98652.5
Services exports 307 354 496 68636.5
Services imports 159 162 221 29515.7
Trade openness
Goods and services

% of GDP

Export concentration index

2019

Food import
dependency
Average 2015-2019

Top 5 partners in merchandise trade, 2019
Exports in millions US dollars
Merchandise exports by product group, 2019
Services exports by category, 2019
CO2 emissions per capita
Kg per capita
CO2 emissions per GDP
Kg per 2010 US$ of GDP
Renewable energy share in total energy consumption, 2017
Percentage of total energy consumption
Material
footprint
per capita

2016

kg

Terrestrial
protected
area

2018

%

Marine
protected
area

2018

%

Disasters indicators
Data not available
Trade in ICT goods

Exports: %
Imports: %
Trade in ICT services

Exports: %
Imports: %
Share of
internet users

%

Fixed broadband vs Mobile broadband subscriptions
Number of subscriptions per 100 people
Sources
Source of data: -—
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except indicators listed below.
References
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