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Belize Investment Summit to Offer Vast Menu of Investment Options

The Start-Up initiative is only one aspect of next week’s International Investment Summit. The summit is the first of its kind in Belize and is the brainchild of Prime Minister John Briceno. Organizers are preparing for some 200 persons to be in attendance and have been collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure that the Covid-19 protocols are followed. Beltraide’s Dr Leroy Almendarez told Love News that the excitement and momentum keep building and that they are looking forward to the presentations planned and the participation of those flying in-country to attend.

Leroy Almendarez, Executive Director, BELTRAIDE: “We’re all excited. Being a part of the planning process I mean it takes a lot out of you but believe me when you’re doing something that you enjoy as you know it makes you want to do more. So the summit you know moved from an idea really that came from the Office of the Prime Minister, from the Prime Minister himself and thought that as we focus on economic recovery let us think about how we can even focus more on investments that will help us or be the foundation to bring about this economic recovery. And investment in this case is not only foreign but also local and so we have been marketing the United States, Central America, Mexico you know those are some of the areas we speak also with Taiwan and as many entities that we can. As a matter of fact the summit is being promoted across CARIFORUM and I say CARIFORUM because it includes the Dominican Republic and every other member of CARICOM. Apart from that we are also being promoted or marketed in The Economist. You know that is something that’s so unique and so if you go to The Economist you will actually see the flyer for Belize Investment Summit. If you Google you will see it pop up as well. And it has received a lot of interest, we have attracted quite a number. I must say still that it’s still a hybrid because we’re still complying with the COVID-19 protocols so you will have the speakers, we’ll have speakers and some of the guests like the Prime Minister, the guest speaker the former Prime Minister of Canada who will be here but we’ll also have people participating virtually and that will create even greater interest after the 11t. Because we’re not saying everything finishes within these two days no we expect to get leads and this is something that continues to give us interest where investments are concerned.”

With many up and coming industries in Belize, particularly, in agriculture, Dr Almendarez told Love News that investors will have a vast menu of options to choose from.

Leroy Almendarez, Executive Director, BELTRAIDE: “We take a look at tourism. Notice that tourism is rebounding it’s still challenging but it’s making its rebounding. I mean we know what happened when the pandemic hit and how it affected tourism but let’s look at agriculture. You know really we have heard so much emphasis, how much the minister is pushing and the focus is not only on traditional but also non traditional. Who would have thought you know we drink coconut water but coconut is the next big thing. It had become the next big thing and there are so many things you can do with that. Energy but renewable energy so that we don’t have to focus on fossil fuels. There are so many sources. First it was bagasse, we use hydro, you know yesterday you heard from Mr.Castillo talking about cohune. In terms of wealth untold it’s just a matter of exploring but making sure that the benefits are greater than any possible cost or damage that could be to our environment because at every point we have to make sure that we comply with those things. And so we hear about seaweed another thing that we used to just drink but now there are so many value added so many things we can do. We have some of the best species in the world it’s not being farmed. Who would have thought you would have farmed seaweed but it’s not being farmed and it’s just a matter of having that quantity that whenever we have some agreement that we can actually export as much and meeting that quantity consistently. You hear about the blue economy. Many people think it’s just the waters and we don’t focus as much on that ecosystem that exists below the surface. There are so many things we can do where the blue economy is concerned and you see how fast that ministry is moving. You hear about new growth industry, you hear about hemp and these ministers and then of course you have the Minister of E-Governance because we want to simplify but digitize as much as possible to make it easier to do business in Belize. We must become more competitive and so we’re focusing on that. Simplifying rules, making sure that it is digitized as much as possible to reduce frustration and make us competitive. Those are the things that we’re focusing because at the end of the day what we want to be is to be exporting more so we take an export led growth, we export products goods and services and we import foreign currency rather than exporting foreign currency because we’re importing more than we export. So that’s what we’re looking at.”

The summit is set to take place on November 10 and 11 at the Grand Caribe Hotel on Ambergris Caye.