# 1 GDP
REPORT #62 April 1999
5 FACTS ABOUT THE BELIZE ECONOMY
Produced by the Belize
Belize's Gross Domestic Product in 1997 was US$567 million, or US$2,525 per
capita. By comparison, per capita GDP in the U.S. was US$25,042. In 1997,
Belize was ranked # 103 out of 191 countries in terms of GDP per capita. The
entire Belize economy is about the size of the economy of a small town of
25,000 people in the U.S.
# 2 Major Industries
Agriculture is the # 1 industry in Belize, contributing 20% of GDP and
employing about 25% of the labor force. The main crops are sugar cane,
bananas, citrus and corn. Tourism is the # 2 industry, representing about
17% of GDP. Tourism is expected to become the # 1 industry within the next
few years. Overall, the services sector in Belize is the largest employer,
employing about 61% of the labor force.
# 3 Imports/Exports
Belize imports more than it exports. In 1996, it exported US$166 million in
goods, imported US$262 million, for a trade deficit of US$96 million.
Belize's largest trade partner is the U.S.
# 4 Key Indicators
Annual inflation rate in Belize has averaged 3.2% in recent years, with the
estimated rate under 2% since 1997. Unemployment is estimated at 13% or
more of the total work force of about 75,000. Local lending rates for loans
are 16 to 18%. Belize has one telephone for every eight persons, and one
television for every seven persons.
# 5 Government Sector
In 1997, the Belize government had revenues of US$162 million and
expenditures of US$179 million, a deficit of about 9% of total spending. In
1996, Belize had an external debt of US$288 million, with annual debt service
of US$40 million.
#5 Living cost for visitors and locals.
If you wish to live as expected like a USA or Canadian citizen in Belize,
it will cost you twice as much. Rents are cheaper than North America,
but all other costs are higher. Stealing is rampant and many foreigners
living in Belize and local citizens complain of the cost of thieves
sneaking through their windows at night and other types of material petty
theft. The ones that make it at a cheaper cost, live in the rural
boonies. They live using local furniture, hammocks, cheap housing like
thatch huts, or galvanized zinc roofs and do not splurge on imported
canned foods. Luxuries that are expensive are the beer, the coca-cola,
electricity ( use kerosene lamps ), try to grow a lot of your own food and
have some fruit trees. People in rural areas are nice though, much
friendlier than North America. The scenery, climate and playing
opportunities are excellent. These things attract a lot of people tired
of the city life in North America, even at double the cost.
Back to Main Belize Development Trust Page
Country Review, Belize 1998/1999, Commercial Data International
International Monetary Fund, IMF World Outlook
U.S. Central Intelligence World Factbook 1998
United Nations Statistical Yearbook
Government of Belize
Statistics courtesy of Belize First Magazine,
Maintained by Ray Auxillou, Silvia Pinzon, MLS, and Marty Casado. Please email with suggestions or additions for this Electronic Library of Belize.