Belize

Belize is a country in Central America, the population is 333,200. Belize (i/bəˈliːz/; formerly British Honduras) is a constitutional monarchy, and the northernmost Central American nation. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language. Belize is bordered to the north by Mexico, south and west by Guatemala, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. Belize’s mainland is about 290 kilometers (180 miles) long and 110 kilometers (68 miles) wide.

With 22,960 square kilometers (8,867 square miles) of land and a population of only 333,200 people (2010 est.),[4] Belize possesses the lowest population density in Central America.[5] The country’s population growth rate of 2.21% (2008 est.),[1] however, is the highest in the region and one of the highest in the western hemisphere. Belize’s abundance of terrestrial and marine species, and its diversity of ecosystems give it a key place within the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.[6]

Belize is culturally unique among its Central American neighbours; it is the only nation in the region with a British colonial heritage. As a part of the Western Caribbean Zone, however, it also shares a common heritage with the Caribbean portions of other Central American countries. In general, Belize is considered to be a Central American nation with strong ties to both the Caribbean and Latin America. Belize is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA).

Belize has a small, essentially private enterprise economy that is based primarily on agriculture, agro-based industry, and merchandising, with tourism and construction recently assuming greater importance. In 2006, the exploitation of a newly discovered crude oil field near the town of Spanish Lookout, has presented new prospects and problems for this developing nation.[27] It has yet to be seen if significant economic expansion will be made by this. To date, oil production equal 3,000 bbl/d (480 m3/d) (2007 est.) and oil exports equal 1,960 bbl/d (312 m3/d) (2006 est.). The country is a producer of industrial minerals.[28] Sugar, the chief crop, accounts for nearly half of exports, while the banana industry is the country’s largest employer.[27]

The new government faces important challenges to economic stability. Rapid action to improve tax collection has been promised, but a lack of progress in reining in spending could bring the exchange rate under pressure. The tourist and construction sectors strengthened in early 1999, leading to a preliminary estimate of revived growth at 4%. Infrastructure continues to be a major challenge for the economic development of Belize.[29] Belize has the most expensive electricity in the region. Trade is important and the major trading partners are the United States, Mexico, the European Union, and Central America. (wikipedia)