Belize is a democratic, upper middle-income country located at the Caribbean coast of Central America. A member of both the Caribbean forum (CARIFORUM) and the Central American Integration System, Belize connects Central America and the Caribbean.
The structure of its economy has changed over the past 20 years. In 2016, agriculture accounted for 9.8%, industry for 14.9% and services for nearly 61.2% of its economic activity.
Belize faces many development challenges including having weak institutions and being vulnerable to external shocks, such as natural disasters and economic crises. The Belize government's ability to address these challenges is constrained by high debt levels and limited fiscal space.
Our development cooperation with Belize spans over 30 years and over €200 million in support, concentrated on agricultural development in the rural areas of the country. Through the Banana and Sugar Accompanying Measures, €100 million has been provided in the last decade alone. We continue to provide the most active support from the EU, as well as coordinating our efforts with other contributors such as the UK-funded Caribbean infrastructure fund.
Our main partnership agreements with Belize include the Cotonou Agreement, and the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Our support is currently provided under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programme for 2014-2020. The priority sectors are energy, health, and public finance management, and are based on Belize’s strategic policy framework, Horizon 2030.
Regional and sub-regional cooperation
The Caribbean Community Single Market and Economy, and the Economic Integration Programme support the integration of Caribbean community (CARICOM) countries, like Belize, into the global economy.
Belize participates in the programme to support the CARIFORUM and is committed to the EPA. Additionally, the country benefits from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean states programme in the:
- harmonisation of tourism and agriculture policies
- upgrading of agricultural health and food safety systems
- development of a labour market information system
- boosting of the competitiveness and export capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises
Under the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries and the Banana Accompanying Measures, Belize will improve the efficiency of its cane production and processing, stimulating economic diversification.
Belize maintains a grant contract under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights with the main objective of protecting children against violence. Belize has another contract under the marine and coastal biodiversity in the Caribbean Sea basin programme to restore fisheries in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System.
External action programmes
Through the Organisation of American States, we have supported the process of arbitration in the border dispute between Belize and Guatemala under the Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace.
The George Price highway rehabilitation for Belize integration is partially funded under our Caribbean Investment Facility.