Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and other business opportunities.
Belize’s location offers many advantages to U.S. businesses, including proximity to the United States, links with Central America and the Caribbean, as well as convenient air transportation and shipping routes to the United States. Belize’s official language is English, which facilitates the conduct of business with U.S. companies. Key government priorities include boosting economic growth, attracting foreign investment, and enhancing private sector productivity. In 2021, net foreign direct investment (FDI) into Belize increased to US $152.25 million, channeled mainly into tourism-related construction, real estate activities, financial services, hotels, and restaurants.
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) is responsible for promoting investment in Belize’s priority sectors. The organization maintains statistics and information on establishing new businesses in Belize and manages the Government of Belize’s investment concessions and incentives programs. BELTRAIDE identified agriculture, agro-processing, aquaculture, logistics and light manufacturing, food processing and packaging (particularly non-plastic and biodegradable), tourism and tourism-related industries, green and blue economy, offshore business process outsourcing (BPOs), and renewable energy as priority sectors.
The easing of COVID-19 restrictions led to the rebound of Belize’s tourism industry as the most important economic driver in 2021 and served to boost revenues from the service industries. The country’s proximity to the United States, English-speaking population, year-round tropical climate, biodiversity, and archeological heritage have cemented Belize as an attractive tourist destination. Belize is also increasingly recognized for its second-home buyers’ market, along with some other countries in Central America, including Panama and Costa Rica. The Government of Belize has several tax and visa policies to encourage foreign retirees to reside in Belize.
Belize’s population predominantly speaks English, Spanish, or a combination of both, making Belize an emerging market for offshore outsourcing. The country’s available arable land is well suited for investments in agriculture, agribusiness, and energy, though investors should be aware of relevant government land-use policies to protect and conserve Belize’s environment and eco-tourism. The country currently produces primary products including sugar, citrus, bananas, beans, rice, corn, and cacao. In a post-pandemic environment, value-added agribusiness investments are needed to build a more resilient sector through expanding opportunities related to storing agriculture and value-added agricultural commodities, affordable food packaging and preservation, and improved technologies to support agricultural yields, such as irrigation, non-toxic pest control, and disease management. Opportunities exist in sustainable energy, particularly in the areas of biomass, hydro, solar, electric vehicles, and waste-to-energy technologies.
The Government of Belize continues to expend significant resources in road infrastructure development and rebuilding the economy through support to the tourism and agriculture sectors. Many public works and economic recovery projects are financed through grants from donors or borrowing from regional and multilateral development banks.