Investor Confidence at all Time High Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 02 May 2013 00:00

Prime Minister, Hon. Dean BarrowUpon being elected to govern in 2008, Prime Minister Barrow and his United Democratic Party administration knew that they needed to build back foreign investors’ confidence in Belize in order to move the economy forward. The previous administration had destroyed Belize’s credibility with foreign investors because of shady arrangements such as dual exclusive contracts. After five years of transparent governance by the United Democratic Party’s administration, foreign investors are now flocking to the jewel.

In his quarterly press conference on Monday, April 29th, Prime Minister Barrow mentioned a few of the investment proposals on the table and projects in the early stage of execution. Spanish investor, Green Tropics are executing corrective measures to ease potential impacts on the environment that may be caused by their US$90 million project in the Belize central corridor. The project is for the development of a sugar plantation, sugar mill and processing facility. The project will create hundreds of jobs for Belizeans. The Norwegian Cruise Line is committed to introducing cruise tourism to Southern Belize. They are interested in a major development project on Crawl Caye, a few miles away from Placencia. Before the project is approved, an environmental impact assessment must be carried out to ensure that there will be no significant disturbance to the South Water Marine Reserve, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The project will attract millions of tourists to the South of Belize meaning a much needed economic boost to the area.

There are several other projects in the pipeline across the country. There are new investors interested in opening a Four Seasons Hotel in Caye Chapel. According to PM Barrow, the investors were recently accompanied by Michael Ashcroft on a visit to the island. Six Senses, luxury hotel group, is interested in building a 5-Star hotel at Harvest Caye, in the South of Belize as well. Puerto Azul is another huge investor with interest in Belize. They are working on a proposal to build a 500 room luxury hotel in Belize.

There is also good news in agriculture and aquaculture. The new investors in the Belize Aquaculture Limited hit the jackpot as an epidemic in Asia has hurt shrimp production in major exporting countries. Therefore, there is a forecast for a 70% increase in shrimp production this year and record earnings from sales of $80 million to $100 million. There are also new investments in red fish, tilapia and coconut production. Officials from Belize and Trinidad are now on the same page and the exportation of chicken from Belize to the island can now proceed. Research is also being conducted on the potential for ethanol production in Belize.

The Business Process Outsourcing industry continues to grow in Belize as individuals are being invited to apply for jobs at a new call center that will open in Belmopan in June of this year. A call center will be opened in Dangriga as well in September.

Belize is open for business. However, only legitimate investors are welcome as the country is no longer being offered for plundering.