The Belize Invest Blog is designed to stimulate discussion on issues regarding doing business in Belize, the investment climate and to discuss opportunities, suggestions, statistics and policies that influence economic growth in Belize.
The Belize economy is very diverse. Although Belize has a small economy, the diversity in opportunities is beyond that of similar-sized population. Belize land mass, its unique bio diversity, geographical location, various economic and political cooperation agreements, and its open economy sets it apart as a unique platform for innovation and growth.
Despite these advantages, Belize’s roadblocks lies in its small and limited domestic market,political system centered around institutional patrimony, ethnic and cultural diversity as a new nation, and its unsophisticated education and physical infrastructure. These challenges plague successive government administrations, resulting in slow economic changes relative to its neighboring countries
The greatest challenge by any elected government is to determine a path to modernization by first modernizing the public service, but alas, the political demands of the voting class, combined with the repetitive five-year memory of the electorate tends to dominate public policy.
The private sector, on the other hand, is led by a philosophy of pure and unapologetic commercialization, inherited directly from a merchant class that was born from our British Colonial ruling classes, but more recently transformed by a growing immigrant merchant class from the Far East and the Middle East. This dominant commercial culture has resulted in very little diversification of wealth, with the older fortunes remaining largely dependent on the import and distribution of low quality merchandise with high markups to compensate for profits in this small unsophisticated market. More recent investment in the Tourism and Leisure sectors have remained, for the most part, small and foreign owned, while larger investments in petroleum, energy, technology, agro-processing, and financial services tend to be by more savvy foreign investors.
Despite these challenges, Belize still remains one of the best opportunities for development of a sustainable model for economic growth. The small population, though problematic for those seeking a mass market, means that basic services are fairly easy and inexpensive to deliver. The massive natural resources represent huge opportunities for development of sustainable productive opportunities while conserving one of the most diverse eco-systems in the world.
It is an exciting time to be in Belize. The discourse by the chattering classes on the morning talk show is as rich as the massive coral reefs that guard our coastline, and as diverse as the dense rain forests teeming with flora and fauna, and motives remain as mysterious as the abandoned sacred maya sites and burial caves that dominate the wilderness landscape in Belize.
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