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Nov 11, 2021

Investment Summit Hopes to Jumpstart Economic Rebound

Themed “Belize Open for Business,” Belize’s first Investment Summit took place this week in San Pedro. The initiative aims to jumpstart the rebuilding efforts, restoring the country’s ravaged economy, to at least to pre-COVID status—if not better. Speakers on the panel discussions hovered over what Belize needs to do to become more financially steady and globally competitive, while Belizean business owners hoped they could attract investors of their own.  Marion Ali reports.


Marion Ali, Reporting

If we are to go by the information shared and the encouragement received from day one of the Summit, one would say that Belize is poised for significant foreign investment in the near future. And Prime Minister John Briceño is convinced that Belize can create an environment conducive to economic growth.


Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“I’m convinced that if we create initiatives which include access to finance and a more seamless enabling mechanism, that we can rebuild our economy with MSME’s at its foundation and without compromising economic initiatives of the larger enterprises. We are a naturally endowed country and must take advantage of those things that make us unique, that make us unique.”


PM Briceño said that the Government is working on a National Investment Policy and Strategy that will govern how business is conducted in Belize. The policy will lessen the burden of starting up new businesses in Belize by removing unnecessary bureaucratic procedures and processes and by digitizing what can be.Minister of the Blue Economy, Andre Perez, says that to ensure the protection of the conservation laws and the development of the National Development Policy, there is meaningful consultation taking place.


Andre Perez

Andre Perez, Minister of the Blue Economy

“We have all stakeholders involved. We’re talking about NGO’s, which are partners with us. We need to work along with them, private sector, the communities, Government officials as ourselves, we consulted.”


Once the proper policies are in place, Belize can achieve economic success, opined the keynote speaker, former Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. He says we already have so much already going for us.


Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper, Keynote Speaker, Investment Summit

“You have abundant natural beauty, a diversified resource export base, including valued-added sectors in agriculture, all with a stable, democratic, uncomplicated political system, a stable currency, and you have had a pretty policy environment, low taxes, which is something that always, always matters, including no capital gains tax. Taken together, that is a pretty impressive list of strengths.”


One local sector that is looking for direct foreign investment is dairy milk production. Its representative at the Summit, Ernest Thiessen, is hoping that the policy makers will give local dairy milk producers access to a bigger portion of that market.


Ernest Thiessen

Ernest Thiessen, Representative, Belize Dairy Association

“Only twenty percent of the stake is being produced in the country is being produced in the country so, it would be a shift so local production would rise and imports would have to be cut down or even maybe just put on an even playing field where we have taxes put on the (imported) product where we could grow our industry to the point where we could be more self-sustainable.”


Harper said that potential Canadians investors would likely look toward tourism and infrastructure development. To add to that is Canadian investor, Bob Dhillon, who has been investing in Belize for the last twenty years.


Bob Dhillon

Bob Dhillon, Canadian Investor

“I think you will see a tremendous amount of boom now in tourism, real estate, retirees. Don’t forget Canada’s got twenty-five percent gray power. And they’re all looking for a place to retire and spend the winters. But the first step is how do we get the people into Belize. Once you come here it sells on its own. We don’t need anybody selling Belize. Belize sells on its own.”


During the opening ceremony, the Inter-American Development Bank signed a loan agreement with the Government and the Development Finance Corporation. The fifteen million-dollar investment will be used to protect employment and promote the economic recovery of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the agriculture, fisheries and tourism sectors. Marion Ali For News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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