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Belize

Commonwealth realm
Flag of Belize Coat of Arms of Belize
Motto
Sub Umbra Floreo
Under the Shade I Flourish
Anthem
Land of the Free
God Save the Queen
Map of Belize
CapitalBelmopan
Government Constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy
Monarch
- From 1981Elizabeth II
Governor-General
- From 1993Sir Colville Young
Prime Minister
- From 2008Dean Barrow
Legislature National Assembly
- Upper houseSenate
- Lower houseHouse of Representatives
History
September 21, 1981Independence from the United Kingdom
Commonwealth accessionSeptember 21, 1981
Area22,966 km²
Population
- 2010333,200
 Density14.5/km²
GDP2010 (PPP)
- TotalUS$ 2.6 billion
- Per capitaUS$ 7,895
CurrencyBelize dollar
Flag of None Territory of Belize
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Belize is a commonwealth realm and parliamentary democracy in Central America.


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 and the two countries are involved in an ongoing border dispute. Guatemala and Belize plan to hold a simultaneous referendum to determine if this dispute will go before the International Court of Justice at The Hague, though they have not yet set a date. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include the country's heavy foreign debt burden, high unemployment, growing involvement in the Mexican and South American drug trade, high crime rates, and one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS in Central America.[1]

Economy

Tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner in this small economy, 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 GDP growth averaging nearly 4% in 1999-2007. Oil discoveries in 2006 bolstered this growth. Exploration efforts have continued and production has increased a small amount. In February 2007, the government restructured nearly all of its public external commercial debt, which helped reduce interest payments and relieved some of the country's liquidity concerns. Growth slipped to 0% in 2009 and 1.5% in 2010 as a result of the global slowdown, natural disasters, and the drop in the price of oil. With weak economic growth and a large public debt burden, fiscal spending is likely to be tight. A key government objective remains the reduction of poverty and inequality with the help of international donors. Although Belize has the second highest per capita income in Central America, the average income figure masks a huge income disparity between rich and poor. The 2010 Poverty Assessment shows that more than 4 out of 10 people live in poverty. The sizable trade deficit and heavy foreign debt burden continue to be major concerns.[2]

Monarch

  • Elizabeth II () (September 21, 1981 - )

Governor-General

  • Sir Colville Young () (Nov 17, 1993 - )

Prime Minister

  • Dean Barrow () (Feb 8, 2008 - )

Nation

Belizean Polities

Neighbouring Nations

References

  1. The CIA World Factbook: Introduction - Background
  2. The CIA World Factbook: Economy - Overview

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