Belize preparing to become investment hub

1 week ago 8

So Belize is positioning itself as a major destination for investment and finance in the region.

I just attended the Belize Investment and Finance Forum in Los Angeles.  Why LA?  It has the largest community of Belizeans outside of the country, and many of them are itching for ways to invest back home.

Hundreds of people turned up to the land clinic that was happening outside at the same time.

While inside, you had several bigwigs, including the Prime Minister John Briceno, Opposition Leader “Shyne” Barrow, and several business and diaspora leaders.  Big up to the Belize American Chamber of Commerce for organizing the event.

One of the big announcements was the launch of Finance Belize, a dedicated marketing and promotions agency for Belize’s finance sector.

So Belize is going on the offensive to market the country as a finance destination.

The PM also announced several incentives for MSMEs.  These include: one year tax break for businesses that register.  Up to $1 million in tax exemptions to import raw materials.  

And the best one in my opinion – 20% of government contracts being reserved for MSMEs.

There was also a company out of St. Lucia that’s moving its headquarters to Belize with the intention of making the country a Forex destination.  

Now don’t ask me the details about this one because the guys left before I could ask how it would work.  But as you may know, Forex standings for foreign exchange trading.  Traders take advantage of fluctuations in exchange rates and place bets on which currencies will rise and fall.  What I understand from the presentation is that they want to set up offices in Belize where they will conduct this activity.

Now you’re probably thinking well what kind of laws and regulations are in Belize to govern this kinda thing.  Well to be honest, the whole industry is very new there.

The legislation just came into effect last year.  And their capital markets are very very young, which only means there’s lots of opportunity for development.

The economy has been improving, with debt to GDP falling from 130% to just 64% this year.  And the PM just announced record low unemployment of just 3% – the lowest ever for Belize, and if I’m not mistaken, the entire Caribbean.  Jamaica was just boasting 4.2% as the lowest in the region.  Now here comes Belize.

But are things perfect? No.  Like I said everything is brand new, which means they’re learning and there will be mistakes.  Additionally, one of the things that I pointed out during the Q&A is that there needs to be more support to help Belizean businesses become investible, so they can take advantage of the opportunities that are coming.

That said, Belize is one to watch in the investment and finance space.  

And that’s the Bottom Line.

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