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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Belize

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Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1854. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include an unsustainable foreign debt, high unemployment, growing involvement in the South American drug trade, growing urban crime, and increasing incidences of HIV/AIDS. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

In this small, essentially private-enterprise economy, tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner followed by exports of marine products, citrus, cane sugar, bananas, and garments. the government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in september 1998, led to sturdy gdp growth averaging nearly 4% in 1999-2007. oil discoveries in 2006 bolstered the economic growth in 2006 and 2007. major concerns continue to be the sizable trade deficit and unsustainable foreign debt. in february 2007, the government restructured nearly all of its public external commercial debt, which will reduce interest payments and relieve liquidity concerns. a key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.

Environmental Issues

Deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid and sewage waste disposal

Government Type

Parliamentary democracy


301,270 (july 2008 est.)


Central america, bordering the caribbean sea, between guatemala and mexico


Total: 22,966 sq km land: 22,806 sq km water: 160 sq km

Slightly smaller than massachusetts

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: none conventional short form: belize former: british honduras


Name: belmopan geographic coordinates: 17 15 n, 88 46 w time difference: utc-6 (1 hour behind washington, dc during standard time)

Military Service

18 years of age for voluntary military service; laws allow for conscription only if volunteers are insufficient; conscription has never been implemented; volunteers typically outnumber available positions by 3:1 (2008)

International Disputes

Oas-initiated agreement on the framework for negotiations and confidence building measures saw cooperation in repatriation of guatemalan squatters and other areas, but guatemalan land and maritime claims in belize and the caribbean sea remain unresolved; the line of adjacency created under the 2002 differendum serves in lieu of the contiguous international boundary to control squatting in the sparsely inhabited rain forests of belize's border region; honduras claims belizean-administered sapodilla cays in its constitution but agreed to a joint ecological park under the differendum

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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