Minister Chris Coye reps the Jewel at Voice of the South Summit
Earlier this month, Belize participated in the Voice of the South Summit, an event organised by the Indian Government. Representing Belize during the virtual discourse was the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development, and Investment, Senator Christopher Coye. Challenges affecting the global south are many and despite the difficulties, Minister Coye was upbeat about the gains Belize made since the economic downfall from the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Coye was able to highlight that Belize is now among the fastest-growing economies in the region, rebounding by over 15% in 2021, and roughly increasing by 12% in the first three quarters of 2022, with the unemployment rate falling to a historic low of 5%. However, that optimism was cautious, with Minister Coye underscoring that Belize continues to live precariously close to the proverbial edge. For a small and vulnerable economy, poverty reduction and the development of a sustainable future for the people of Belize mean building not only economic resiliency but climate resiliency. The increased frequency and destructive effects of hurricanes, floods and even droughts in Belize reduce and often reverse any development gains made. Dr. Osmond Martinez, the Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Economic Development discussed why this platform was such an important one for Belize.
Dr.Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “In that presentation he give a little bit of history of where Belize is and where we have come from, where we are and where we want to go and one of the main points we took away from that discussion or one of the main points on which Minister Coye has been consistent is that the world, our political and powerful leaders within the geopolitics need to look at the architectural financial structure. Why ? Because when you look at what we are seeing right now and what everyone is experiencing in the world we have a global inflation issue in addition to that now governments are being faced with another challenge and that challenge is high interest rates from the multilaterals. So when you look at CDB and IDB the interest rate is around 5.5% for government loans, for public loans compared to about 1.5% six to twelve months ago. And so that is a challenge. So the countries that are powerful they need to look at that architectural design. They need to look at how countries like Belize which fall within the small island development state can enjoy concessionary finance, grants, or low cost finance, you know very low cost finance in order to help us to develop our countries.”