Belize secures $10 m loan from IDB
Belize has secured a 10-million-dollar loan from the Inter-American Development Bank. This funding will help the country promote the digitalization of companies and government services, and boost local economic growth. The bank says that the initiative, which is aimed at benefitting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and has a focus on women-owned or led companies, will foster the adoption of digital technological solutions and train entrepreneurs to hone their digital skills. The program will also help re-engineer and digitalize government services related to firms, which will help reduce transaction costs for MSMEs. The program will also help optimize and digitalize government processes related to citizen registration services, including the online application for birth, death, and marriage certificates. This will lower the cost of these certificates while reducing the time required to issue them. It will also create a website to efficiently register and route citizen requests and to help implement an adequate legal and regulatory framework for digital procedures and transactions. In addition, the program will train 300 businesses – mostly MSMEs – and hundreds of citizens in digital literacy through gender-sensitive digital awareness campaigns. The initiative will also help train another 160 civil servants in both change management and the management of digital tools and services. Meanwhile, the program will provide about 200 businesses with digital vouchers to adopt digital technology. The loan spans 25 years and has a grace period of 5 and a half years.