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Belize Facts

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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. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include high unemployment, growing involvement in the South American drug trade, and increasing urban crime.
Common Name: Belize Local Official Name: Belize
Abbreviated Name: Belize Official Name: Belize
Official Script Name: Belize Local Common Name: Belize
Former Name: British Honduras Territory of: NA
Head of State: Queen ELIZABETH II
Government Type: parliamentary democracy
Independence: 1981 September 21 (from UK)
Constitution: 1981 September 21
National Holiday: Independence Day, 21 September
Administrative Divisions: 6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo
Dependent Areas: NA
Legal System: English law
Suffrage: 18 years
Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches: Executive Branch: 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 28 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; 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 Branch: bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (12 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; 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 5 March 2003 (next to be held March 2008) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PUP 21, UDP 8 Judicial Branch: Supreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister)
Party Leaders: People's United Party or PUP [Said MUSA]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Dean BARROW, party leader; Douglas SINGH, party chairman]
International Disputes: Guatemalan squatters continue to settle in the largely uninhabited rain forests of Belize's border region; OAS seeks to revive the 2002 failed Belize-Guatemala Differendum that created a small adjustment to land boundary, a Guatemalan maritime corridor in Caribbean, joint ecological park for disputed Sapodilla Cays, and substantial US-UK financial package
Illicit Drugs: transshipment point for cocaine; small-scale illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; money-laundering activity related to narcotics trafficking and offshore sector 
  Belize Facts |  Belize Information | Belize Statistics  
Location of Belize: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico
Continent: South America Land Area Total: 22,966 sq km 
Region: Central America Land Area Land: 22,806 sq km
Capitol City: Belmopan Land Area Water: 160 sq km
Latitude: 017 15 N Border Boundary Land: 516 km
Longitude: 088 45 W Border Boundary Coastline: 386 km 
Arable Land: 3.05 % Pastures: 0.00 %
Crops: 1.39 % Woodlands and Forests: 0.00
Highest Elevation: 1,160 m Location: Victoria Peak
Lowest Elevation: 0 m Location: Caribbean Sea
Largest City in Belize: Belize City Belize City Largest City Population: 58,000
Threatened Species: 59
Environmental Issues: deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid and sewage waste disposal
Environmental Agreements: 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
Irrigated Land: 30
Bordering Countries: Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km
Natural Resources: arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower
Geographical Terrain: flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south
Comparative Area of Belize: slightly smaller than Massachusetts
Belize's Geography: only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean

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General Climate: tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)
Natural Hazards: frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south)
  Belize Facts |  Belize Information | Belize Statistics  
Economic Overview: In this small, essentially private-enterprise economy the tourism industry is the number one foreign exchange earner followed by marine products, citrus, cane sugar, bananas, and garments. The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to sturdy GDP growth averaging nearly 5% in 1999-2005. Major concerns continue to be the sizable trade deficit and foreign debt. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.
GDP: $1,778,000,000 USD Currency: Belizean dollar
GDP per Capita: $6,800 USD Currency Code: BZD
GDP Growth Rate: 3.80 %
Currency Exchange Rate History: Belizean dollars per US dollar - 2 (2005), 2 (2004), 2 (2003), 2 (2002), 2 (2001)
GDP of Agriculture: 14.20 % GDP of Industry: 15.80 %
GDP of Services: 61.20 %  
Inflation Rate: 3.00 % Population in Poverty: 33.00 %
Unemployment Rate: 12.90 % Tourism: 0.00 visitors each year
Consumption by lowest 10%: 0.00 % Budget Revenue in USD: $262,000,000 USD
Consumption by upper 10%: 0.00 % Budget Expenditures in USD: $329,000,000 USD
Electricity Production: 12,000,000 kWh Electricity Exports: 0 kWh
Electricity Consumption: 111,600,000 kWh Electricity Imports: 0 kWh

Electricity Production by Source:
Fossil Fuel Electricity Production: 58.33% Nuclear Electricity Production: 0.00%
Hydro Electricity Production: 41.67% Other Electricity Production: 0.00%
Oil Production: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Production: 0 cu m
Oil Consumption: 6,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Consumption: 0 cu m
Oil Exports: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Exports: 0 cu m
Oil Imports: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Imports: 0 cu m
Proven Oil Reserves: 0 barrels Proven Natural Gas Reserves: 0 cu m
External Debt: $1,362,000,000 USD Received in economic aid: $0 USD
  Donated in economic aid: $0 USD
Agricultural Products: bananas, coca, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp; lumber; garments
Primary Industries: garment production, food processing, tourism, construction
Industrial Growth Rate: 4.60 %
Import Amount in USD: $6,224,000,000 USD - machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco
Import Partners: US 31%, Mexico 11.6%, Russia 8.8%, Cuba 6%, Guatemala 5.6%, China 4.6%, Spain 4.4%
Export Amount in USD: $349,900,000 USD - sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood
Export Partners: US 30.6%, UK 25%, France 4.8%
GINI Index: 0.00%
Labor Force Number of People: 90,000
Labor Force by Occupations: agriculture 27%, industry 18%, services 55%
  Belize Facts |  Belize Information | Belize Statistics  
Radio Broadcast Stations: 13 Number of People with Radios: 133,000
Television Broadcast Stations: 2 Number of People with Televisions: 41,000
Number of People with Mainline Telephones: 33,300 Number of People with Mobile Phones: 93,100
Internet Service Providers: 3,905 Internet Users: 3,500
Internet Country Code: .bz Newspapers: 0
Two Letter Country Code: BH Weights and Measures:
Phone Country Code: 501 Electricity Voltage: 110/220 Volts
Telephone Systems: general 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)
  Belize Facts |  Belize Information | Belize Statistics  


Highways: 488 km Railways: 0 km
Gas And Oil Pipelines: 0 km Waterways: 825 km
Airports: 5 Heliports: 0
Motor Vehicles: 25 per 1,000 people CO2 Emissions: 388,000 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  Per capita CO2 emissions: 1.70 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
Merchant Marines: total: 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)
Ports and Harbors: Belize City, Big Creek, Corozol, Punta Gorda
  Belize Facts |  Belize Information | Belize Statistics  
Population: 287,730 people type - nationality Birth Rate: 28.84 births per 1,000 people
Population Density: 11.00 people per sq km Death Rate: 5.72 deaths per 1,000 people
Population Growth: 2.31% per year Fertility Rate per Women: 3.60 babies born per woman
Population Male 0-14: 57,923 Population Female 0-14: 55,678
Population Male 15-64: 82,960 Population Female 15-64: 81,046
Population Male 65+: 4,888 Population Female 65+: 5,235
Population 0-14: 39.50% Literacy Rate: 94.10%
Population 15-64: 57.00% Literacy rate of Males: 94.10%
Population 65+: 3.50% Literacy rate of Females: 94.10%
Population that is Male: 52.50 % Population that is Female: 47.50%
Life expectancy at birth in years: 68.30 years Infant mortality rate - baby deaths per 1000 births: 24.89 Babies die per 1,000 births
Life expectancy at birth for Males: 66.43 years Life expectancy at birth for Females: 70.26 years
Rate of AIDS/HIV infection: 2.40% Number of people living with AIDS or HIV: 3,600
Number of people who died of AIDS: 0
Disease Risk:
Net Migration Rate per 1,000 people: 0.00
Nationality: BELIZEAN
Ethnic Groups: mestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Maya 10.6%, Garifuna 6.1%, other 9.7% 
Primary Language: English
Other Languages: English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole
Primary Religion: Roman Catholic
Other Religions: Roman Catholic 49.6%, Protestant 27% (Pentecostal 7.4%, Anglican 5.3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 5.2%, Mennonite 4.1%, Methodist 3.5%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.5%), other 14%, none 9.4%
  Belize Facts |  Belize Information | Belize Statistics  
Branches: Belize Defense Force (BDF): Army, Maritime Wing, Air Wing, and Volunteer Guard
Manpower Fit to Serve: 18 years
Manpower Available: 121,249 People
Manpower Fit to Serve: 87,871 People
Amount of Manpower Available each Year: 6,313 People per year
Expenditures: $0 USD per year
Expenditures as a Percentage of GDP: 1.70
Note: Phrasebase uses a variety of sources when compiling the facts and information presented above. This information is continually updated throughout the year.
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