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Apr 7, 2016

Financial Sector Dubbed Uncompromising

While tourism and agriculture have both been identified as key pillars of Belize’s economy, there is a certain nervousness when it comes to the impact of both sectors on the environment.  From a business perspective, the financial sector has also been categorized as uncompromising, since it is rather difficult to access startup funding to establish small enterprises.

 

Francisco Carneiro, Representative, World Bank

Francisco Carneiro

“There are serious concerns associated with the overexploitation of tourism and agriculture that we see pose a lot of threats to the environment and the sustainability of the ecosystem as well.  So let’s move into the analysis of the factors affecting economic sustainability.  So the first thing that I would like to highlight is the fact that financial inclusion in Belize is below the average in Latin America.  If there’s a micro-businessman here, a small enterprise or even a medium enterprise, you will understand what I am saying.  It’s difficult to get a loan.  It’s difficult to start a business.  It’s difficult to get access to credit.  Not only debt but also the cost of borrowing is very high.  So you see here a comparison across the region.  Belize is amongst the countries with the highest interest rate spreads in the region and even in the world.  This constrains a lot the development of the sector that is actually responsible for a lot of the employment generated in the country.  If you look at the tourism sector in Belize, you don’t see big chains of hotels like you have in Miami and other developed countries.  It’s mostly the small resorts that employ a lot of people and that rely on credit to expand.  So this limits their ability of the country to expand, so to speak and not only the tourism sector, in agriculture and in other sectors of the economy.”

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1 Response for “Financial Sector Dubbed Uncompromising”

  1. Unfair says:

    This is just saying what everyone else is afraid to say. The banks in Belize are gouging Belizeans. The little to nothing paid on savings compared to loan interest rates is ridiculous. And now the banks are increasing their fees (withdrawal fees, check fees, bank visit fees….) – to use your own money! I wonder if the bank regulators are looking at this!?

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