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Aug 31, 2023

The 2023 Belize Investment Summit Is Off To a Start

The 2023 Belize Investment Summit is attracting potential investors from all over. The gathering was officially opened this morning at the Grand Caribe on Ambergris Caye. Some five hundred individuals have registered for the two-day event which will include in-depth conversations on the blue, green and orange economies. Key components of the summit are conservation and sustainable development. As a result, the former President of Colombia, Iván Duque Marquez, was invited as the guest speaker at the opening ceremony. Duque leads numerous global conservation initiatives. He is also a champion of the orange economy. But at the heart of the summit are the local businesses that continue to invest in growing their companies and are now looking for partners and investors to expand their operations and, in many cases, enter the export market. News Five’s Paul Lopez has been in San Pedro for the past two days and files the following report.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

The 2023 Belize Investment Summit got on the way this morning on Ambergris Caye. Local businesses and investors, as well as investors from across the world, are all gathered at the Grand Caribe for the two-day event.


Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“We are very pleased with the among of interest people have had, in Belize, South America, Central America, the Caribbean and from South Korea, they are coming to Belize, there has been this buzz about Belize that things are happening in Belize and there are all these business opportunities sin Belize, so the business investment forum gives an opportunity to put investments together with locals and foreigners to see how they can get their projects going. It also gives the government tan opportunity to present the work we have done over the past two years and also the policies we have put in and the plans to make investments easier in Belize, bringing across that Belize is open for business.”


The guest speaker at today’s opening ceremony was Ivan Duque Marquez, the former President of Colombia. Duque spoke exclusively with News Five during his visit.


Iván Duque Márquez

Iván Duque Márquez, Former President of Colombia

“One of the nicest things about Belize is that when you look at the whole Latin American and Caribbean region you have an employment rate that is something around two point eight percent, that is almost full employment. That is a big achievement. But also imagine if you continue generating new opportunities and you allow the human capital through talent to be employed where the talent is and that has to do with music, the arts, with functional creation, what you are going to be able to do is what you are doing now with call centers where young persons are employed and they can win or earn by the hour maybe two or three times the minimum wage in an hourly basis, the same thing can happen in the orange economy but even higher. Even they can earn more than what they can do in a call center if they work in a sector which they can contribute more. That simply creates more dynamic and I think those are the bets that countries need to make.”


The investment summit has been designed to privately connect these businesses with potential investors. Opportunities have also been made available for business owners to dialogue with government officials on issues relevant to their sectors.


Henry Cruz

Henry Cruz, Owner, H&Y Manufacturing Limited
“The company has been in existence one year now and producing is eight months. We have different products, detergent, Isabella, chromax, best choice and the company is located in San Ignacio.”


Paul Lopez

“Are you guys doing any sort of exporting as yet?”


Henry Cruz

“Not yet, but we are looking to export. Our products are of high standards and quality, you can see our labels and our quality is very good. So, we have the potential to export.”


Derrol Vernon

Derrol Vernon, Owner, Wine Time

“We have met a lot of people in different areas. In terms of Wine Time, we grow our own grapes. So we met with people that do agriculture different natural stuff that we could use. WE also met with the Prime Minister and different government officials. So many Wine Time could aquire some land and maybe create a vineyard. So we are working cause the main thing we need is opportunities. We are not asking for handouts we are asking for opportunities and working with people especially the government.”


Nubia Ramirez

Nubia Ramirez, President, BPO Association of Belize

“There are still big opportunities for a lot of investors. The industry has been growing really fast in Belize especially during and after Covid. Definitely Belize is recognized now as a destination for BPO’s we have about thirty BPOs registered in Belize country wide, however there is still space for additional investors and of course the population of Belize is a really good benefit for any investor coming due to the English of Belize, I would say that is a main attraction of having a BPO in the country.”


The Chief Investment Officer in the Office of the President of Guyana, Doctor Peter Ramsaroop is present at this year’s summit. He has taken keen interest in the growth of the BPO sector in Belize. Doctor Ramsaroop says he wants to champion a partnership in this sector between both nations.


Peter Ramsaroop

Dr. Peter Ramsaroop, Chief Investment Officer In Guyana

“As I mentioned ot the Prime Minister yesterday and he mentioned in his speech today about the business processing outsourcing, the BPO market and Guyana is fledging in that market. We don’t have as much seats as Belize has. But imagine if a client in the U.S coming and saying we need five thousand seats tomorrow, Belize can produce five thousand, Guyana can produce two thousand. We twin that product. The client just wants to make sure their service to provide to the United States. So by twining the product none of loses. WE are not even competing.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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