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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Belize has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a deep recession and worsened fiscal and external positions from already weak levels. The opposition People’s United Party won the November 2020 elections by a wide margin, which gives the new government a unique opportunity to jump start much needed reforms to reduce large imbalances and anchor strong and inclusive growth.
Johanna Tiedemann, Veronica Piatkov, Dinar Prihardini, Juan Carlos Benitez, and Ms. Aleksandra Zdzienicka
Small Developing States (SDS) face substantial challenges in achieving sustainable development. Many of these challenges relate to the small size and limited diversification of their economies. SDS are also among the most vulnerable countries to the impact of climate change and natural disasters. Meeting SDS sustainable development goals goes hand-in-hand with building their climate resilience. But the additional costs to meet development and resilience objectives are substantial and difficult to finance. This work adapts the IMF SDG Costing methodology to capture the unique characteristics and challenges of climate-vulnerable SDS. It also zooms into financing options, estimating domestic tax potential and discussing the possibility of accessing ‘climate funds.’
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Belize focused on structural reforms to raise growth and social inclusion; strengthening resilience to natural disasters; balanced medium-term fiscal consolidation; tax reform; and strengthening financial oversight and anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism actions. Public debt remains above 90 percent of gross domestic product, the current account deficit is projected to remain large over the medium term, and international reserves are just below three months of imports of goods and services. The pace of structural reform has been slow. Downside risks, including from slower US growth, natural disasters, crime, and renewed pressures on correspondent banking relationships could weaken growth and financial stability. Belize is adapting its tax regime in response to concerns from multilateral institutions regarding potentially harmful features. Sustaining Belize’s recent economic expansion, spurring private investment, and facilitating structural diversification hinges on strengthening the business environment.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Belize is exceptionally vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change. It already faces hurricanes, flooding, sea level rise, coastal erosion, coral bleaching, and droughts, with impacts likely to intensify given expected increases in weather volatility and sea temperature. Hence, planning for resilience-building, and engagement with development partners on environmental reforms, have been central to Belizean policymaking for many years, since well before Belize submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Accord in 2015. This Climate Change Policy Assessment (CCPA) takes stock of Belize’s plans to manage its climate response, from the perspective of their macroeconomic and fiscal implications. The CCPA is a joint initiative by the IMF and World Bank to assist small states to understand and manage the expected economic impact of climate change, while safeguarding long-run fiscal and external sustainability. It explores the possible impact of climate change and natural disasters on the macroeconomy and the cost of Belize’s planned response. It suggests macroeconomically relevant reforms that could strengthen the likelihood of success of the national strategy and identifies policy gaps and resource needs.
Mr. Krishna Srinivasan, Ms. Inci Otker, Ms. Uma Ramakrishnan, and Mr. Trevor Serge Coleridge Alleyne

Abstract

This book provides a diagnosis of the central economic and financial challenges facing Caribbean policymakers and offers broad policy recommendations for promoting a sustained and inclusive increase in economic well-being. The analysis highlights the need for Caribbean economies to make a concerted effort to break the feedback loops between weak macroeconomic fundamentals, notably pertaining to fiscal positions and financial sector strains, and structural impediments, such as high electricity costs, limited financial deepening, violent crime, and brain drain, which have depressed private investment and growth. A recurring theme in the book is the need for greater regional coordination in finding solutions to address the Caribbean’s shared and intertwined macroeconomic and structural challenges. The analysis suggests that strengthening regional and global market integration of Caribbean economies would provide an impetus to sustained growth in incomes and jobs. Greater regional and global economic integration would also facilitate structural transformation and a shift toward new economic activities, resulting in more diversified and less vulnerable economies. A central challenge for the Caribbean is thus to come together as a region, overcome the limitations posed by size, and garner the benefits of globalization. Efforts should build on existing regional arrangements; accelerating progress in implementing these agreements would stimulate trade. Policymakers could also promote deeper integration with Latin America and the rest of the world by pursuing new trade agreements, leveraging current agreements more effectively, or deepening them to include areas beyond traditional trade issues, and developing port and transport infrastructure.

Mr. Francesco Grigoli, Alexander Herman, and Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel
This paper analyzes saving patterns and determinants in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), including key policy variables and regimes. The review of previous empirical studies on LAC saving reveals contradictions and omissions. This paper presents empirical results of an extensive search of determinants of private and public saving rates, adding previously neglected variables (including different measures of key external prices and macroeconomic policy regimes), in linear form and in interactions with other saving determinants. It analyzes statistical differences in saving determinants between LAC and the rest of the world in a nested econometric framework, and discusses differences across three country subgroups within LAC. The results highlight commonalities and differences in saving behavior between LAC and other world regions, as well as within LAC, identifying the role of key policy variables and regimes.
International Monetary Fund
The staff report for Belize’s use of Fund Resources and Request for Emergency Assistance is examined. Economic growth has been sustained largely by rising oil production, while inflation has remained under control. Despite rising oil production, economic growth has been low in 2007, in part because of the impact of Hurricane Dean. The authorities are confident that the banking system is stable and adequately capitalized, and largely insulated from international market turmoil.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
IMF chief economist Simon Johnson, IEO report, Sub-Saharan Africa, Tom Bernes, Joanne Salop, exchange rate analysis, CGER, Jonathan Ostry, Belize, Malan report, IMF-World Bank cooperation, Bruegel, IMF goverance, Colin Bradford, global imbalances.