In a bid to address the energy shortage affecting the country, GSR Energy Limited (GSR) fully developed a project, a sugarcane bio-electricity plant and a bio-ethanol distillery in Belize, which will produce electricity for domestic use and ethanol for export.

Belize boasts an excellent electrification rate with the national grid reaching 90% of its population. However the country is highly dependent on Mexico to meet their energy needs – with up to 75% of dispatchable electricity being imported. GSR’s mission is to build and operate the most energy efficient and cost effective bio-refinery possible which will relieve Belize of this energy dependency and help secure the electricity grid.

By creating an energy efficient bio-refinery, GSR will have the means to produce 25.4 MW (203 GWh) per year of dispatchable electricity (88% of the electricity currently being supplied from Mexico) and 30.8 million gallons of ethanol per year, a percentage of which will be used for sale in the export market, whilst the electricity would be sold to the national grid for a much lower and more stable price than the customers currently pay.

To ensure they have enough sugarcane to use as a raw material to fuel the plant, GSR is working with the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute (SIRDI) and sugarcane seedling developers who have agreed to provide seedlings to local farmers. GSR will then buy the sugarcane grown by these farmers for use in their bio-refinery, creating job opportunities in the area. Local farmers own sufficient land and will utilize the best sugarcane management practices to maintain and manage the demand with a 5-year ratoon (replanting) cycle so as not to impoverish the land.

Farmers within the Mennonite community in Belize have set up a co-op and expressed intent in participating in the project by planting and selling the sugarcane to GSR. Their proposal is to partner with GSR and to plant 40,000 acres of sugarcane for the project. In addition GSR has partnered with a Brazilian Engineering Firm, Uni-Systems do Brazil, for the design, Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) and operations of the Bio-Refinery.

Since winning the IDEAS2 Energy Innovation Contest, GSR has used the grant funds to carry out 12 pre-construction optimization studies for both the bio-refinery and the supply chain. They include; identification of the best site for connection to the Central American Grid, expected electricity demand, the best options and conditions for selling the ethanol as well as the supply chain management and logistics issues involved in executing this Project. Additional growth opportunities were also identified, and as a result, the bio-refinery has been designed and will be built to allow for optimum growth and expansion.

GVEP has been providing GSR with business and strategic support to make the project bankable. Preliminary discussions have already taken place between GSR and some potential regional and international investors.

‘This project will make a huge difference to the communities in Belize, as well as creating stable income for farmers involved in the sugar cane supply chain. The provision of electricity at a lower rate than many currently have to pay will have a significant impact on household budgets.’ Explains Leighton Waterman, County Manager, GVEP Caribbean.

GSR’s Belize Bio-Refinery Project was selected as one of the top three projects at the CAFCEF Finals on October 22, 2014 in Antigua, Guatemala.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Financial Stability Board, a panel made up of central bankers, finance officials and top regulators from the world’s largest economies, plans to announce proposals Monday that would double the amount of money that large banks would be required to have on hand to absorb losses, reports New York Times.

The purpose of the new rules, which would not take effect until 2019 at the earliest, is to curtail risk-taking and protect taxpayers from having to bail out large banks in times of crisis, as happened on a grand scale during the financial crisis in 2008.


The new proposals, which have been hinted at for several weeks, aim to shift the burden of bank failures so that it falls more squarely on bank investors and the banks themselves. But the proposals are certain to face stiff opposition from the banking industry, which is likely to argue that the rules would force banks to curb lending, hurting economic growth. Banks and other interested groups have until Feb. 2 to submit comments on the rules.

The rules would allow large banks to be shut down “without recourse to public subsidy and without disruption to the wider financial system,” Mark J Carney, the governor of the Bank of England and chairman of the Financial Stability Board, said in a statement.

The rules would apply only to so-called global systemically important banks — banks that are so big and interconnected that their problems can create economic and financial havoc. Banks in emerging markets would initially be exempt from the rules.

If adopted, the rules would probably have the most impact on lenders like Deutsche Bank in Germany or BNP Paribas in France, which use a high proportion of borrowed money to do business. These banks might need to divert profit or sell new shares to raise more capital, or else jettison some of their most risky activities. Read the rest of this entry »


Hearly G. Mayr
Director of Communications and Public Affairs | work: 202.458.6180 | cell: 202.280.3846

Belize City, Belize (November 6, 2014)The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) announces the official launch of two micro-businesses under the second phase of the Youth Engagement Services Project (YES!), a program that targets youth who have limited opportunities in order to support youth-initiated micro and small businesses that increase access to jobs and encourage entrepreneurship in Belize City.

The program, funded by the U.S. Embassy in Belize, is building on other services to complement ongoing activities by providing youth from marginal areas the essential elements of technical training and business advisory services so they can succeed in the labor market.

During Phase I, participants completed a 12-week tailored training program in entrepreneurship through SBDCBelize, under the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE). Youth participants received training on start-up and improved business tactics and business plan development in order to be prepared to start their own business or improve an existing one. Under Phase II participants submitted business plans for review by a Business
Launch Group comprised of private sector panelists. Following this process, four of the 10 business plans submitted received seed funding.

On November 6, 2014 two of the businesses were officially launched during an event attended by the Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Belize, Mr. Starret Greene; Sr. Business Advisor at SBDCBelize, Mr. Omar Castillo; Business Advisor at SBDCBelize, Ms. Gabriela Del Angel; Sr. Programs Director at PADF, Ms. Caterina Valero; and Project Director in Belize, Ms. Minerva Pinelo. The grantees are Ms. Reyna Ramos and Mr. Channing Garoy from Mayflower Street and North-Creek Road, respectively.

Ms. Ramos’ business goal is to expand her home food vending micro business with support from the YES! Program through Elt’s Grocery Store, an establishment located in her neighborhood. She plans to offer local snacks, beverages, stationeries and toiletries. Her greatest motivation is to ensure a stable future for her 6-year old son. She also plans to begin saving money to continue her education as she has completed only the first two years of undergraduate studies at a local community college.

With support from YES! the second grantee, Mr. Garoy, plans to expand his existing frozen drink micro business by marketing a local sweet frozen drink known as “ideals” and selling it under the brand name “Milky Squeez Ideals”. Mr. Garoy, who created the business in partnership with his mother, expects to start meeting growing demand by investing in cold storage equipment, transportation (bicycle and eventually a cart), and sealer materials for optimum packaging. The product, which is a result of experimenting with local flavors such as bananas, peanuts, and papaya, is currently being sold at a local hardware business where Mr.Garoy’s mother works.

About PADF

PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2013, it helped more than 10.2 million people in 22 countries. Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia, Suriname, Honduras, and Belize, and projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

For more information on program details, and other issues, please contact:

Minerva Pinelo
Project Director

Belmopan. November 10, 2014. In a report released by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) on Friday, November 7, 2014, Belize’s ‘B-/B’ sovereign credit rating was affirmed and its outlook upgraded to positive from stable. The company attributed this change to the new $140 million investment in “sugar and nontraditional agricultural products” stating that the country’s economic growth prospects are increasing and “will likely improve Belize’s external liquidity.”

To view and download the official release from Standard & Poor, click the link:


The role of the private sector is particularly vital today amid strong signals by some Caribbean economies of returning to positive growth in 2015.

This view has been shared by Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) Pamela Coke-Hamilton, on the eve of a two-day international colloquium designed to facilitate dialogue between regional and international private sector leaders, politicians and academics.

Coke-Hamilton said the role of the private sector was even more critical today than previously given its importance in driving economic growth. “So to the extent to which the private sector continues to make the necessary investment and diversify their base of operations and engage in innovation, then the economies will continue to improve and increase growth,” the Executive Director continued.

Caribbean Export is organising a second conference, Caribbean Exporters Colloquium 2014, at the Hilton Barbados from November 11-12 to help provide a road map for regional economic recovery.

The primary objective is to bring together thought leaders on the issues affecting export development diversification, expansion and penetration of markets and importantly facilitate exchanges between the private and public sectors in the region and externally. Read the rest of this entry »


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