Belize Secures Access to Korean Economic Development Fund at Favorable Terms
Belize now has access to funding from the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund. The fund holds up to 500 million in its development budget, and provides concessional loans to least developed countries (LDCs) to help in their industrial development and economic stability. For Belize, Prime Minister Briceno says he has negotiated access to the fund at a point-one interest rate with a 30-year payback period.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “The Koreans presently have the 10th largest economy in the world and as the president pointed out to me, seventy years ago they did not have enough paper for the children to go to school. And they believe that they managed to develop their country because they had many countries assisting them. Now that they’re at a point of their development, now they believe that they should be able to help all developing countries. They have the special fund, the EDCF, the Economic Development Cooperation Fund, of which developing countries can access funding at 0.01% to be paid over 30 years and in many instances, a part of that fund, of that loan, is even a grant. But Belize, unfortunately, we are considered a middle-income country based on GDP. And we have to be making the case that we are not a middle-income country, because we have, while our GDP is fairly high compared to other countries it’s only 400,000 of us but we are in a big country. So I tell them, imagine Barbados in one of our islands, Ambergris Caye with 100 miles of paved road you’d cover the entire country we don’t. We need clinics. We need bridges. We need farm roads, we need schools, you know, we need hospitals. So it is very costly for Belize to be able to put the necessary infrastructure that we want to provide for our people. And the President agreed with Belize, with us, and so he instructed immediately that they should allow Belize now to have access to these funds.”
The Government of Korea established the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) on June 1, 1987 with the purpose of promoting economic cooperation between Korea and developing countries.