www.tiptopglobe.com - dogs, cats, countries, funny, cars, puzzle, wallpapers, games online


Belize: Travel tips, articles, photos, gallery, cities database, population, pics, flags, statistics, free maps online

Back to Countries, Click to read the whole article: Belize
Introduction - Belize:

BackgroundBelize 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.

Location - Belize:
LocationCentral America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico

Geographic coordinates17 15 N, 88 45 W

Map referencesCentral America and the Caribbean

Areatotal: 22,966 sq km
land: 22,806 sq km
water: 160 sq km

Area comparativeslightly smaller than Massachusetts

Land boundariestotal: 516 km
border countries: Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km

Coastline386 km

Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm in the north, 3 nm in the south; note - from the mouth of the Sarstoon River to Ranguana Cay, Belizes territorial sea is 3 nm; according to Belizes 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

Climatetropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)

Terrainflat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south

Elevation extremeslowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Victoria Peak 1,160 m

Natural resourcesarable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower

Land usearable land: 3.05%
permanent crops: 1.39%
other: 95.56% (2005)

Irrigated land30 sq km (2003)

Natural hazardsfrequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south)

Environment current issuesdeforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid and sewage waste disposal

Environment international agreementsparty 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

Geography noteonly country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean

People - Belize:
Population294,385 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure0-14 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.)

Median agetotal: 19.9 years
male: 19.7 years
female: 20 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate2.258% (2007 est.)

Birth rate28.34 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate5.76 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratioat 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.)

Infant mortality ratetotal: 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.)

Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 68.25 years
male: 66.44 years
female: 70.16 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate3.52 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rate2.4% (2003 est.)

Hiv aids people living with hiv aids3,600 (2003 est.)

Hiv aids deathsless than 200 (2003 est.)

Nationalitynoun: Belizean(s)
adjective: Belizean

Ethnic groupsmestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Maya 10.6%, Garifuna 6.1%, other 9.7%

ReligionsRoman Catholic 49.6%, Protestant 27% (Pentecostal 7.4%, Anglican 5.3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 5.2%, Mennonite 4.1%, Methodist 3.5%, Jehovahs Witnesses 1.5%), other 14%, none 9.4% (2000)

LanguagesSpanish 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)

Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 76.9%
male: 76.7%
female: 77.1% (2000 census)

Government - Belize:
Country nameconventional long form: none
conventional short form: Belize
former: British Honduras

Government typeparliamentary democracy

Capitalname: Belmopan
geographic coordinates: 17 15 N, 88 46 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo

Independence21 September 1981 (from UK)

National holidayIndependence Day, 21 September (1981)

Constitution21 September 1981

Legal systemEnglish law

Suffrage18 years of age; universal

Executive branchchief 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 28 August 1998); Deputy Prime Minister Vildo MARIN (since 5 June 2007)
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

Legislative branchbicameral 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 (29 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - number of seats will increase to 31 next election
elections: House of Representatives - last held 5 March 2003 (next to be held in March 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PUP 21, UDP 8

Judicial branchSupreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister)

Political parties and leadersNational Alliance for Belizean Rights or NABR; National Reform Party or NRP [Cornelius DUECK]; Peoples 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 [Hipolito BAUTISTA]

Political pressure groups and leadersSociety 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]


Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador Lisa M. SHOMAN
chancery: 2535 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-9636
FAX: [1] (202) 332-6888
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the uschief of mission: Ambassador Robert J. DIETER
embassy: Floral Park Road, Belmopan City, Cayo District
mailing address: 3050 Belize Place, Washington DC 20521-3050
telephone: [501] 822-4011
FAX: [501] 822-4012

Flag descriptionblue 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 overviewIn 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 governments expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to sturdy GDP growth averaging nearly 4% in 1999-2006. Major concerns continue to be the sizable trade deficit and unsustainable foreign debt. The government in 2006 announced it would seek a restructuring of its sovereign debt and has been negotiating with international creditors to find an acceptable formula for doing so. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.

Gdp purchasing power parity $2.307 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate $1.141 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate3.5% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp $8,400 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 22.5%
industry: 14.8%
services: 62.6% (2006 est.)

Labor force113,000
note: shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel (2006 est.)

Labor force by occupationagriculture: 22.5%
industry: 15.2%
services: 62.3% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate9.4% (2006)

Population below poverty line33.5% (2002 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate consumer prices 4.5% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed 18.2% of GDP (2006 est.)

Budgetrevenues: $302.5 million
expenditures: $357.5 million; including capital expenditures of $70 million (2006 est.)

Agriculture productsbananas, cacao, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp; lumber; garments

Industriesgarment production, food processing, tourism, construction, oil

Industrial production growth rate4.6% (1999)

Electricity production175 million kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption162.8 million kWh (2004)

Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)

Electricity imports0 kWh (2004)

Oil production2,413 bbl/day (2006)

Oil consumption3,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil exports1,960 bbl/day (2006)

Oil importsNA bbl/day

Oil proved reserves0 bbl

Natural gas production0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption0 cu m (2004 est.)

Current account balance-$173.4 million (2006 est.)

Exports$359.5 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Exports commoditiessugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood

Exports partnersUS 32.6%, UK 32.3%, Cote dIvoire 3.6% (2006)

Imports$543 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Imports commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco

Imports partnersUS 34.8%, Mexico 14.6%, Cuba 7.5%, Guatemala 7%, China 4.2% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$78.96 million (2006 est.)

Debt external$1.2 billion (June 2005 est.)

Economic aid recipient$NA

Currency code Belizean dollar (BZD)

Exchange ratesBelizean dollars per US dollar - 2 (2006), 2 (2005), 2 (2004), 2 (2003), 2 (2002)

Communications - Belize:
Fiscal year1 April - 31 March

Telephones main lines in use33,900 (2006)

Telephones mobile cellular118,300 (2006)

Telephone systemgeneral assessment: above-average system
domestic: trunk network depends primarily on microwave radio relay
international: country code - 501; satellite earth station - 8 (Intelsat - 2, unknown - 6) (2005)

Radio broadcast stationsAM 1, FM 16, shortwave 0 (2006)

Television broadcast stations5 (2006)

Internet country code.bz

Internet hosts3,905 (2006)

Internet users34,000 (2006)

Transportation - Belize:
Airports43 (2006)

Airports with paved runwaystotal: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 38
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 26 (2006)

Roadwaystotal: 2,872 km
paved: 488 km
unpaved: 2,384 km (1999)

Waterways825 km (navigable only by small craft) (2007)

Merchant marinetotal: 285 ships (1000 GRT or over) 985,464 GRT/1,322,629 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 36, cargo 203, chemical tanker 7, container 4, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 13, refrigerated cargo 12, roll on/roll off 6, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 225 (China 103, Croatia 1, Cyprus 2, Estonia 3, Germany 3, Greece 2, Hong Kong 8, Iceland 2, Indonesia 2, Italy 4, Japan 2, North Korea 2, South Korea 4, Latvia 6, Lithuania 1, Malaysia 1, Mexico 1, Norway 2, Poland 2, Russia 36, Singapore 6, Spain 3, Switzerland 1, Turkey 11, UAE 5, Ukraine 7, US 5) (2006)

Ports and terminalsBelize City, Big Creek

Military - Belize:
Military branchesBelize Defense Force (BDF): Army, Maritime Wing, Air Wing, and Volunteer Guard

Military service age and obligation18 years of age for voluntary military service; laws allow for conscription only if volunteers are insufficient; conscription has never been implemented; volunteers typically outnumber available positions by 3:1 (2001)

Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 61,201
females age 18-49: 60,048 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 44,238
females age 18-49: 43,633 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 3,213
females age 18-49: 3,100 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures percent of gdp1.4% (2006)

Disputes internationalannual 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 Belizes border region; Honduras claims Belizean-administered Sapodilla Cays in its constitution but agreed to a joint ecological park under the Differendum

This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>