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Minister of State for Finance Participates in Meeting of Governors of the Caribbean Region`

Staying on the issue of money: Minister of State for Finance, Economic Development and Investment, Senator Christopher Coye participated in the Meeting of Governors of the Caribbean Region with the World Bank. Senator Coye and CEO Doctor Osmond Martinez attended as part of the 2021 International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank Group Annual Meeting yesterday. He discussed the impact of COVID-19 on Belize’s largest money-earner, tourism. During 2020, there was a downturn of seventy-one-percent in international arrivals and a fourteen-percent contraction in the economy. Responding to those shocks, Senator Coye told the meeting that the Briceno Government was forging ahead with making tourism more sustainable while simultaneously diversifying the economy. However, he noted that despite the setbacks last year, GOB has been able lead the economy to a modest recovery. He added that the economy must be further diversified by increasing agricultural exports and expanding business process outsourcing. He also explained that a sustainable recovery is possible but lack of access to more affordable financing limits the country. Belize consistently finds itself ineligible for the concessionary financing opportunities offered by the Internal Financial Institutions (IFIs). Even though Belize is one of the most affected countries in the world by weather related events and other natural hazards, Belize does not yet qualify for grant and concessionary financing from International Development Association (IDA), an arm of the World Bank. Senator Coye argued that this exclusionary policy was arbitrary and appeared contradictory since Belize is internationally recognized by the United Nations as a small island developing state. This year’s theme was “From Response to Recovery: Charting a Dynamic Transformation for the Caribbean.”