Belize Advocates for World Bank’s International Development Association Membership

Belize Advocates for World Bank’s International Development Association Membership

Belize is lobbying to become a member of the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA). A Belizean delegation is in Morocco attending the Caribbean Ministerial Meeting at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank Annual Meetings. The country hopes to increase its resiliency to climate change by advocating for broadened access to climate resiliency-building and contingency-based crisis financing. Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Chris Coye says that one of the overarching goals is to advocate for Belize’s eligibility for IDA. He explained that the delegation is holding bilateral meetings with numerous countries and is presenting its case for IDA eligibility. 

Christopher Coye, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance: “Gaining IDA eligibility is something that we’ve been working on for over a year and a half now and we’re hoping that we make a positive headway and we’ll find out sooner than later by December whether we gain that eligibility. So this is kind of crunch time for us. IDA has a threshold. If you have a per capita income, that is higher than that threshold, you’re not eligible for IDA finance. Belize is above that threshold so ordinarily we wouldn’t be able to gain that access. However, they do have an exception called small island economy exception. And countries that meet certain criteria on vulnerability as well as restrictions or tightness on access to finance for their debt or affordability of debt, those are criteria that give access to IDA. Under that exception in the case of Belize we meet all the eligibility criteria for access under that exception however, we are not an island. As simple as that geographic circumstance is, that disqualifies us from eligibility under the small island economy exception and we feel that that is really an arbitrary type of qualification that has no relevance so far as the vulnerability both in climate and in debt that we face. And so we really on our own we’ve been making this advocacy with many of the countries, particularly the developed countries, for us to gain access or for them to agree and adjust their rules so that we can gain eligibility.”

Coye went on to provide details on Belize’s application to the IDA and the requirements needed to become a part of the development arm. 

Christopher Coye, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance: “IDA has a threshold. If you have a per capita income, that is higher than that threshold, you’re not eligible for IDA finance. Belize is above that threshold so ordinarily we wouldn’t be able to gain that access. However, they do have an exception called small island economy exception. And countries that meet certain criteria on vulnerability as well as restrictions or tightness on access to finance for their debt or affordability of debt, those are criteria that give access to IDA. Under that exception in the case of Belize we meet all the eligibility criteria for access under that exception however, we are not an island. As simple as that geographic circumstance is, that disqualifies us from eligibility under the small island economy exception and we feel that that is really an arbitrary type of qualification that has no relevance so far as the vulnerability both in climate and in debt that we face. And so we really on our own we’ve been making this advocacy with many of the countries, particularly the developed countries, for us to gain access or for them to agree and adjust their rules so that we can gain eligibility.”

Belize’s delegation includes Kareem Michael, Governor of the Central Bank of Belize, and Dr. Osmond Martinez, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Economic Development.

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