BELIZE / USA – The Inter-American Development Bank has approved US$8 million loan to promote Belize´s foreign direct investment and trade performance through a series of measures aimed at streamlining trade and investment procedures and providing tools for small and medium-sized firms to join global value chains.
The loan – approved by the IDB’s board of executive directors – will seek to reverse Belize’s struggling external sector. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has been decreasing since 2014 (except for 2018) and has lagged its neighbours with similar economies. Trade flows were below those of its peers.
The project will reduce trade and investment permit approval times through automatized, simplified, and standardized processes. It seeks to attract more FDI projects by strengthening Belize’s investment promotion institutions. IDB research shows that for every US$1 invested in FDI promotion generates an additional US$56 in FDI. The project also promotes local Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) exports by identifying and supporting export-ready SMEs.
The project identifies the need for more women in senior management positions in both international and local firms. Data intelligence based on gender-disaggregated data will be included to support public sector gender equality policies and strategies, but it can also assist private investors in making location decisions, among other gender-related activities
Gender inclusion, attracting more foreign investments, and joining global and regional value chains are key priorities established in the IDB’s Vision 2025 to accelerate the region’s economic recovery.
The loan will enhance trade facilitation through reengineering and digitalizing trade administration procedures, aiming to reduce transaction costs. For instance, single window entry points can cut the time needed to prepare trade documents by 40 percent.
The Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment (MFEDI) will execute the loan. It has an amortization period of 25 years and an interest rate based on SOFR.