PM Briceño addresses IDB Board of Governors in San Pedro
Belize has hosted the 36th annual meeting of the Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank. This is the first meeting for IDB President Ilan Goldfajn (gold fine), who upon taking up this role, has envisaged expanding the bank’s contributions to the development of member countries. As host, Prime Minister John Briceño spoke extensively of the need for the economic playing field to be even for countries like Belize. That way, according to the PM, struggling economies in the region can fill major gaps in poverty and inequality that are rife.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Today we live in challenging times. The present economic structure is not only complex but full of uncertainty. Accelerating inflation triggered by demand and supply disruptions as well as rising commodity prices especially oil prices is impacting our region’s revenue, our spending and our debt levels. Rising interest rates especially for countries like mine that are pegged to the US dollar is making it more costly for us to meet our debt obligations. This is especially critical for commodity exporting countries. Experts tell our governments that commodity exporting countries can offset debt by increasing raw material prices while commodity importing countries are told to improve their tax system to help rationalize subsidies to avoid feeding into persistent inflation effects. The recent World Bank report on the world output indicates that growth is projected to decelerate from an average of 2.9% in 2022 to 1.9% in 2023. With such low projections how can we improve the quality of life of our people ? With the region’s growth projection so precarious how can we reduce poverty and inequality ?”
The Prime Minister, who constantly referred to his government’s Plan Belize agenda, outlined the need for a particular focus on things like education, employment, healthcare, housing and land ownership. Coupled with that, the Prime Minister argued that there has to be a drive to promote private sector growth and development at the same time.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “My fellow governors we face similar threats and challenges some old, and some new. So far we have, to varying degrees address these challenges. We have weathered the storm but for how long ? Today I’m comforted by President Goldfajn’s commitment to making the IDB the most reliable, agile and important development partner for Latin America and the Caribbean. Belize supports his vision for promoting sustainable and equitable growth to address numerous social issues such as combating poverty. We support his desire to address the existential challenge of climate change and foster sustainable infrastructure. Over the past three years we have witnessed how the InterAmerican Development Bank has stepped up to the plate supporting the region’s financing needs during multiple crisis. Support is needed for both the public and private sectors.”