End of Project Evaluation (Deadline: 14 February, 2014)
Aside from Caribbean micro-states, Belize was as of 2009, the fourth most open economy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Belize’s population is small (313,000 inhabitants), which limits the size of the domestic market and potential economies of scale. The economy depends strongly on trade with the world economy, both as market for domestic production and as a source of the wide range of products that would be costly or impossible to produce domestically.
In 1997, with the support of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), the Trade and Investment Promotion Service (TIPS) was established in 1997. This institution was mandated to be the focal point for all trade and investment information and facilitation services. In March 1997 the scope of TIPS was broadened to serve as a “one stop shop” for local and foreign investors. In the year 2000, TIPS changed its name to Belize Trade and Investment Development Services (BELTRAIDE).
BELTRAIDE’s functions include a number of responsibilities for export promotion, investment attraction and SME development. BELTRAIDE has not been able to proactively promote investments in key high growth sectors because of resource constraints. In 2009, BELTRAIDE initiated an Organizational Evaluation to assess and benchmark the organization against similar Investment and Trade Promotion Organizations in the region. This assessment constituted a starting point for analysing the institution, presented a detailed organizational analysis, including recommendations for improving strategic leadership, financial management, human resources management and development, monitoring and evaluation, Information Technology (IT) services, organizational communications, among others. However, the assessment lacked an implementation plan, and a solid analysis and recommendations on the operation of its three main functional areas (export promotion, investment attraction, and SME development) and comparisons to regional and international best practices. Continue reading “Strengthening the Institutional Architecture for Investment Attraction in Belize”