July 19, 2011

BELTRAIDE held a workshop today to strengthen the institutional architecture for investment attraction, Export Promotion and small and medium size enterprises development in Belize. The workshop is one of BELTRAIDE’s first steps in developing an investment promotion strategy for Belize. Executive Chairman for BELTRAIDE, Michael Singh says the IDB has funded a project in the sum of three hundred thousand US dollars that will be used by the organization of capacity building and institutional strengthening for the development of a more dynamic trade and investment promotion unit for the country.

Michael Singh – Executive Chairman, BELTRAIDE
“We are going to reach out to the private sector. We have a lot of representation from educators, from the private sector, from other government ministries, from banks so that we can get feedback from our private sector, our industry partners, our government department partners to tell us what they want to see us do. We have restructured the organization to create these specialists in areas such as tourism and leisure, areas such as the business process outsourcing, call centers. We are going to be pushing in areas for light manufacturing agriculture, agribusiness and also in alternate energy and type of value added to all of those industries. It is a wide agenda but we are trying to segment it so we have people specializing and dividing the institution into areas that we can direct investment, really give the kind of care to the investors coming in, the right information. Also proactively going out, finding the right investor, putting them into the right partnerships if possible and very importantly partnering with the private sector. Today in the position that Belize is in, we are in a very key position in Central America and the Caribbean to provide the kind of investment climate, and the potential for investment. We are English speaking; we are close to the United States, very good air links, good sea linkages, lots of natural resources, so we feel the time is right. Capital is looking for places to go. The traditional capital markets are not as stellar as they used to be so we feel that if we can make ourselves a good case, if we can show the right potential for growth; there are areas we have competitive advantages in for instance sugar prices are up. This is a good time to invest in sugar. We cannot even supply, our local market because our neighbouring markets prices are so good. We need to start working on how do we develop more production in that area how do we improve our tourism product. Those are the areas that we are going to be working in and trying to bring foreign investment as well as local investment into developing those areas.”