A new report released by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) analyses the current macroeconomic situation in the region, including Belize. Regional Economic Principal Specialist of the Inter-American. Development Bank’s (IDB) Department for Central America, Mexico, Panama, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and Country Economist for Belize, Dr. Jordi Prat, delivered a presentation entitled, “Inclusive Growth: Opportunities and Challenges for Central America and the Dominican Republic”. The report highlights the Region’s social and macroeconomic conditions, opportunities and risks in the medium term. Dr. Prat spoke specifically about Belize’s economic standing in the region.

Dr.Jordi Prat, Regional Economic Principal Specialist, IDB:“Well Belize has two very important points, one is that it has a very young population which we call the demographic dividend, the percentage of the population of working age will be increasing until around 2045. That means that you have this stock of people that need to get educated and get the abilities for them to find good job opportunities. The second thing that we saw about Belize is that you have a relatively high level of human capital. The average schooling years in Central America is around eight, Belize is around ten and the infant mortality rate in Belize is below Central American and Latin America – so that means that you have certain characteristics that make growth, that should allow growth to be more inclusive. What are the challenges? How do we translate all these good stuff into high growth that is inclusive and here is where one of the biggest challenges that I see in Belize is how to improve infrastructure and how to make connectivity better so that more companies can come and take advantage of the positive factors that I just mentioned.”

According to Dr. Prat, discussed the actions that Belize should take to boost growth and improve inclusive development.

Dr.Jordi Prat, Regional Economic Principal Specialist, IDB: “Basically what we think is that you need to continue betting on human capital but you need to improve the link between the labor market and where education is about. For example there has to be a better link where you figure out or you find out what the potential companies that might come or the companies that are here need in terms of labor force and then you adjust the curriculum so that you give the kids those abilities. So for example we encourage you to improve technical education, we look at improving internships so that when the kids they are learning not only do they learn by going to school but they also learn by going to the job and seeing how it is that its done and not just the theory.”

Among those attending the presentation were Cassandra T. Rogers, IDB Country Representative; Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Natural Resources; Joy Grant, Governor of the Central Bank of Belize and Yvonne Hyde, CEO of the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce.