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Feb 9, 2018

Bankers Tout Sponsored Infrastructure Improvements, Advise Belize on Controlling Debt

Daniel Best

Belize recorded just a half a percentage point increase in GDP in 2017, and projects about one point five percent, hampered by increases in debt. But still, the C.D.B. remains confident that Belize can juggle growing debt and slow economic growth to rebound. The key, as a presenter told reporters, is in infrastructure, both physical and personal.

 

Daniel Best, Director of Projects, Caribbean Development Bank

“Already, the thirty-nine million U.S. dollars Fifth Road Project in Belize, which will link the International Airport to Belize City, is changing lives. Every day, twenty thousand people are using the first section of road opened from the airport to Haulover Bridge. In 2017, road safety infrastructure upgrades were completed on eighty kilometers of roadway in Belize. These improvements included improved signage and road markings, access for people with disabilities, and the creation of bicycle paths. Through a comprehensive education programme, ten thousand six hundred people were trained in road safety practices, most of them youth. We estimate that this combined effort has resulted in the avoidance of approximately one hundred road fatalities.”

 

President Smith later noted that it’s not the first time Belize has had to address debt issues and that the measures to be adopted will not require a more stringent approach than in the past because that creates confidence problems with investors. The focus, he said, should be on getting growth and ensuring that the fiscal deficit is kept under control.

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