Belize has a land area of 23,000 km2. In 2017, the population of Belize was estimated at 374,681. Over 40 per cent of the population is mestizo (mixed race), while some 30 per cent is Creole. Maya and Garifuna are the two other main ethnic groups. The official language in Belize is English. Spanish is also widely spoken.
Belize has a small open economy. Its GDP growth was boosted from zero per cent in 2009 to 3.8 per cent in 2015, but declined to a 0.9 per cent in 2017 (World Bank). Generally, the economy is characterized by weak growth, large public debt and trade deficits. In 2017, the service sector was the most important for Belize’s economy, accounting for 58.4 per cent of GDP, followed by the industry sector, including manufacturing, at 30.7 per cent and agriculture at 10.9 per cent.
According to the 2010 Poverty Assessment Report, rural poverty affects 44 per cent of the rural population, while urban poverty incidence is 22 per cent. A further 14 per cent of households is deemed vulnerable to poverty, with uneven access to resources across groups and communities along age, gender or ethnic groups.
In December 2018 IFAD launched the Resilient Rural Belize (Be-Resilient) programme. This entails an IFAD financing of US$8 million. Co-financing from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in the form of a grant to the Government is also envisaged for an amount of US$8 million.